The 100 Greatest Summer Songs of All Time!

25 Bob Dylan
''Like a Rolling Stone''
Summer of '65

Long, hot summer days heated up every time this galvanizing record came over the airwaves. With its headlong rush of organ, piano, drums, guitars, and Dylan's accusatory vocals, his first top 10 smash was so different it stopped conversations. While it had nothing to do with the Vietnam War or the civil rights demonstrations, this attack on a down-and-out debutante still felt like a political manifesto. Maybe it was.

26 ''You're the One that I Want'' and ''Summer Nights'' John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John / ''Grease'' Frankie Valli (1978) Grease, with a side order of cheese. The three moods of summer — a tease, a strut, a sigh.

27 ''Born to be Wild'' Steppenwolf (1968) If that opening riff doesn't make you want to hit the highway, you are officially a coma victim.

28 ''The Twist'' and ''Let's Twist Again'' Chubby Checker (1960/61) Back before the word franchise was even a twinkle in the major movie studios' eyes, twist-meister Checker foresaw the value of a warm-weather sequel. And so America contorted again, like it did last summer.

29 ''All I Wanna Do'' Sheryl Crow (1994) Barfly-poetry verses outta Tom Waits meet a chorus veritably lifted from Brian Wilson's picnic basket: It's the most literary-minded mindless summer single ever.

30 ''Cruel Summer'' Bananarama (1984) Even a heat wave seems less cruel thanks to the cruising-the-street guitar riff, the lyrics (''The air is so heavy and dry''), the three slinky voices.

31 ''WATERFALLS'' TLC (1995) Sad stories from the ghetto, a buoyant hook, and a water image — '90s summer hits don't get any more timely or irresistible.

32 ''Miss You'' Rolling Stones (1978) Rock, meet disco. Disco, meet the harmonica. America, meet yet another unstoppable Stones summer anthem.

33 ''My Sharona'' The Knack (1979) The new wave ''Wipe Out'': one dumb hook repeated over and over until it approaches moronic ecstasy.

34 ''Ramblin' Man'' The Allman Brothers Band (1973) Dickey Betts' mellifluous guitar was the key to this primo highway song, the perfect soundtrack for speeding on melting asphalt.

35 ''Stand By Me'' Ben E. King (1961) Moonlight, commitment, and a Drifter. What more could a girl ask for on a summer night, except maybe a River Phoenix flick?

36 ''Spill the Wine'' Eric Burdon & War (1970) An ''overfed, long-haired, leaping gnome'' falls asleep in the sun and dreams he's ''naked...in front of/Every kind of girl.'' Spiced with laid-back flute and congas, this is Freudian fantasy at its best.

37 ''Groovin''' The Rascals (1967) A serene Sunday afternoon stroll with the one you love, captured as never before (or since) in song. Maybe it's the chirping birds.

38 ''Grazing in the Grass'' Hugh Masakela (1968) Anyone who thinks this is about cows should consider that Masakela was hanging out with Jimi Hendrix around the time this horn-spiked romp was recorded.

39 ''Good Times'' Chic (1979) The sinfully infectious bass line alone was enough to fill a sweltering dance floor in 100-degree weather.

1 5 6 7 8 9
Advertisement

From Our Partners