There's a certain, what I call, celebration of summer in our culture. I don't care who you are. If you live in New York City in a tenement or in Arizona on a ranch, there's something about the freedom of summertime [that harks back to our childhoods]. You wake up as a kid on summer vacation and you have the whole day: "What am I going to do today? Oh yeah, I'm going down to the pool. I hope that great chick with the bikini shows up. Then I'll go to the movies tonight with my friends. I can go to sleep anytime I want to."
When we recorded "School's Out," it was the only song I truly knew was going to be a hit. It's one of the ultimate summer songs, I know, because it's the song that ushers in summer. The two happiest days of the year for kids are Christmas, when greed takes over as you open all those presents, and the last three minutes of the last day of school before summer vacation when you're sitting in class watching the minutes tick off the clock. At the time we were writing it, I said, "If we can capture those last three minutes in a song and at the very end have the kids cheering, it'll be an instant anthem." Summer is about pure freedom, and I really think that's the basis for great summer songs. Alice Cooper
Joss Stone: "Loving You," Minnie Riperton
"This song always reminds me of my dad, actually. He introduced me to her. It's just so beautiful. And when she hits that high note, you're like, Oh, my God. It's so not forced, either. It's like a breath of fresh air; the most beautiful sound. 'And we will live each day in springtime, because loving you has made my life so beautiful.' It's just so lovely."
Josh Garza, The Secret Machines: "Good Times, Bad Times," Led Zeppelin
"When I think of summer, I think of riding around Texas with no AC and sticking to the seat with Zeppelin blaring . . . usually Zeppelin I, but more specifically 'Good Times, Bad Times.' I don't know if it is a summer song, but that's what I listened to in the summer."
Ben Gilles, Silverchair: "Grace," Supergrass
"There are so many awesome songs to choose from for a soundtrack to the famous hot Aussie summer that this task was near impossible! The one that stands above the rest for me, [though], is 'Grace' by Supergrass. Taken from their album Life on Other Planets, it reminds me of being in the car at Christmas time, heading up the north coast of Australia on a holiday to Byron Bay or Queensland. That time of year is always really busy on the roads, but 'Grace' is one of those nostalgic songs that takes you straight to the beach. You can smell the salt air, taste your fish and chips, and you forget all about the traffic and the long road ahead!"
Jeph Howard, The Used: "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," Crash Test Dummies
"Nothing keeps me cooler in the summer then hearing a man with a deep voice humming my favorite letter of the alphabet."
Matt Rubano, Taking Back Sunday: "So Much Trouble in the World," Bob Marley
"When I was in my early teens, I was staying at my dad's house in Long Beach (Long Island) for the summers. I spent the days surfing, daydreaming, and smoking pot, and the nights bussing tables at a local Mexican restaurant that played Bob Marley records ad nauseam in the dining room. I wasn't into it at first, but, like most humans, developed a love for Bob's music and his messages and thought it was so funny to watch people scarf down Coronas and nachos and nod their drunk, sunburned faces to songs like 'So Much Trouble in the World.' That's when I discovered irony but Bob's music has been the sound of summer to me ever since."
Devon Shirley, Photo Atlas: "Burning Down The House," The Talking Heads
"It's getting hot outside. Press play and let those summertime feelings out. This tune shouts 'poolside antics' and could very well be the air-conditioned anthem of summer '07. Let's face it, summer is about parties house parties, as a matter of fact, and when we want things to get out of control, we douse the place with gasoline and turn up the heat. Oh, oh, don't forget about the slip and slides!"
Steve Bays, Hot Hot Heat: "Victoria," The Kinks
"Growing up on a small island off the coast of Canada, I was never able to relate to the palm trees, boardwalks, and Ferraris. A diet of obscure metal and punk satisfied my small-town teenage rebellion for a while but in the end, I always came crawling back to the hooks . . . and most of those were in my dad's shoeboxes in the basement. The Kinks somehow pulled off la la's and ooh's and huge summer hooks without taking you by the hand and walking you through the mall. My favorite summer song of theirs is also coincidentally the name of the city in which I grew up: Victoria. Mandatory addition to a stolen jeep road trip summer vibe."
Miranda Lambert: "Sideways," Citizen Cope
"This is off a record called Clarence Greenwood Recordings and the whole record is good. This [particular] track is mellow and very well written. 'These feelings won't go away/They've been knocking me sideways' is so simple, but no one's thought to phrase it like that. I can't tell you how many times I've felt just like that. That song is a comfort."
Rachael Yamagata: "Maggie May," Rod Stewart
"My musical upbringing happened in the back of my dad and stepmom's car and they lived for '70s rock. 'Maggie May' was one I took in every summer road trip, windows down, no cares. All I had to watch were the trees blending by and my parents' hands on the gear shift, one on top of the other. Go figure that those lyrics made me feel safe."
Alice Cooper: "I Get Around," The Beach Boys
"I think nobody ever wrote summer songs better than the Beach Boys. Surprisingly, when people ask, 'What's your favorite album of all time?' I say, 'I Get Around' by the Beach Boys because it is the ultimate summer song. It will apply to every summer until the world ends. It's built into the chords. It's built into the production. It's like sun coming up in the morning."
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