When the summer season kicked off, with pools opening and schools closing, we looked at what makes a song a summer song. For some, it’s a song that was released in the summer and became the background for that season’s activities. For others, it's a song about the season, one that talks about the good and bad things unique to the sun-soaked months.
We asked 11 Phoenix musicians to tell us about their favorite summer tunes. Some shared songs that take them down memory lane to summer days from childhood. Others told us about tracks currently in their musical rotation that embody the spirit of the season.
Jim Andreas of No Volcano
“Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey” by Paul McCartney and Wings
It reminds me of the summertime, even though it really doesn't have anything to do with the summer. Every time I hear that song, I think of going to the public pool when I was a kid — especially the line in the chorus, "Hands across the water."
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Byron Carrick of The Jesus Ponies
"Young Americans" by David Bowie
It mainly reminds me of summer because when I was a kid, my mom would play it loud in the car when we drove to my grandma’s house to go swimming.
Michael Cornelius of The Father Figures
“Leo” by Failure
Summer is about road trips, and this song about escaping in a car is one we often play when we hit the road.
Christian Dean a.k.a. Vee Tha Rula
“Slide” by Calvin Harris, featuring Frank Ocean and Migos
Summer to me, well, number one is, being in Arizona means it is HOT AF!!! So that's one. The summer here makes you wanna wear light clothes and listen to light breezy easy listening music. That's “Slide” to me. Super-fun dope beat, great lyrics, singing, and rapping. And the song starts by asking, "Do you slide on all your nights like this?" Just makes you feel fresh, like you’re getting ready to go to a Vegas pool party in the summer! Just dope. So yeah, my name is Rula, and "Slide" is my favorite summer song right now.
Lana Del Rabies
“My Own Summer” by Deftones
Back in the day, I was an angst-y nu-metal teen, and in some regards, I guess I still am. Deftones was one of my favorite bands back then, and they are one of the few I still listen to. This song reminds me even the feeling of being in Arizona in the summer, the sort of irritated self-examination one goes through when it's too hot to do anything but think. I like to think there's a deeper poetic meaning to this track, but honestly the lyrics are literally about it being hot outside.
E-Skull of Sugar Skull Explosion
“Peanut Butter Dream” by Dog Party
This specific song makes me think of summer because I saw this band for the first time two summers ago, and they have been important to me ever since. We also got to play with them last summer.
Betsy Ganz of The SunPunchers
“Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon and War
The song reminds me of my thighs sticking to the Naugahyde seat cushions in our Country Squire station wagon, no AC, War on the radio heavy rotation, that rubato storytelling blew my mind as a kid, like early rap over Latin/soul /funky beats, wow! I remember sweating every time it came on.
Joe Golfen of The Lonesome Wilderness
"Coast to Coast" by The Blank Tapes
During the summertime, I get a bad case of wanderlust, and this song reminds me of taking off to the coast or up to the woods for the weekend. The laid-back vibe is just the right speed for summertime, and it just makes me happy.
Trent Pittard of Hillbilly Devilspeak and Mighty Sphincter
“Jump in the Fire” by Metallica
This song makes me embrace the Arizona heat. It also brings back great summer memories of when Metallica didn't suck.
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Holly Pyle of House of Stairs
"Golden” by My Morning Jacket
It's the quintessential bicycle song, ideal for a Flagstaff summer ride around a lot of trees, but it's pretty much sunshine in song form.
"Rock With Us" by Yung Pinch
This song embodies the vibe of summertime. It can put me in a good mood no matter what. I love it and you should, too!