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Summer has dawned over the Vail Valley and though the official start is not until June 21 around these parts we tend to get a jump on things. Therefore I decided to do the same and talk about summer songs.


There is a very real phenomenon that each summer a song resonates like no other and wherever you go the beach, the campgrounds or just tooling around in your car on errands you can not escape that one song.  Even though music has become so accessible on numerous devices in every location you can imagine and Americans in particular are not as bounded to a singular cultural touchstone like we were as recently as 1990, therer still manages to be some songs that break through and become ever associated with the summer.  Think Katy Perry’s and Snoop Dogg’s “California Gurls” from 2010.


Instead of trying to figure out what song it will be this year, mainly because I don’t think it has been released yet though there are a few contenders like Magic!’s “Rude,” and Ed Sheeran’s “Sing,” I’d rather delve into a the top 5 Real Songs Of The Summer of All Time.


#5- “Schools Out”- Alice Cooper- (1972) The theme, the song, the out of nowhere feel. The madness and glee of throwing your books in the air as the bell released you for three months of bliss and kick the can games. It had it all. It also launched Alice Cooper to the fame he deserved. Oops well. It’s an amazing song and when you hear it on the radio it is impossible not to think of summer.


#4- “Summer”- War (1976)- If you were older than 16 but younger than 23 at the time, you were driving around town “with all the windows down/eight track playing your favorite song” during the bicentennial summer playing this number.


#3- “The Boys Of Summer”- Don Henley (1984)- Elegant, visceral, honest and reflective. The song about the end of summer brings redemption and one of rock’s greatest lines of baby boomer idealism lost ‘Driving along the road today, I saw a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac.”


#2- “Summer Nights”- John Travolta and Olivia Newton John (1978)- All right I know a crazy pick from a rock snob like me, but you have to love the melody and you even sang the verse in your head when you read the song’s title.  From a summer when all the girls wanted to be Sandy and the boys as cool as Travolta’s Danny.


#1- “Hot Fun In the SummerTime”- Sly & The Family Stone (1969)- Funk and soul come together as each member of the family tells there favorite summer memory. A lasting vestige from the summer of love that reached its epic peak when Sly and company sang it at Woodstock.