On account of this likely being the best day we’re going to have all of 2016, here are my picks for the Top 5 Summer Songs poll we did at work a few weeks’ back.
1. Mungo Jerry – Summertime
I’ve liked this song ever since I was a kid, riding shotgun in my Dad’s shitbox Chevrolet Impala (and later, his Dodge Magnum) to go see the harness races at Stampede Park . My Dad had friends from A to Z, and, being the bar manager at a number of bars, he of course got invited to parties and whatnot that the younger cocktail waitresses were having, and, you know, lots of these waitresses’ guy friends actually looked like Mungo Jerry.
2. The Motels – Suddenly, Last Summer
When my Pappy was making preparations to go to that giant casino in the sky, my estranged Mammy slowly came back into the picture to perform an exfil (we moved to the States just a few months later). This song takes me back to a windy, cold afternoon in Strathcona, just off Bow Trail in the southwest, where I played a somber game of Frisbee with my Mom. The strange, melancholic chord progressions are haunting and sour, almost as if the song were recorded after its Best Before date.
3. War – Spill the Wine
“I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day…
…when I thought I’d lay myself down to rest…
…in a big field of tall grass.”
I don’t have any particularly strong triggers for this song, but the fact remains it is one of the quintessential summer anthems. Replace “strolling” with “stumbling”, and “lay myself down” with “fall over”, and you have many a sweltering afternoon with me as the central spectacle. There is much debate online regarding the provenance of the lyrics, and there’s a great pool scene in Boogie Nights in which this song plays.
4. Llorca – Indigo Blue
I could have picked any number of songs from what is now known as the Tropical House music genre (like this, or this, or this). In fact, the one song I most wanted to share I just can’t remember the name of. Anyway, I love songs like this, because in my perfect life, I would be at a typewriter (ok, a computer) in a house on a hill close to the ocean with white furniture and white curtains, all the windows open, this kind of music in the background.
5. The Rascals – Groovin’
This is a beautiful song. Why, I remember a gorgeous summer day back in 1990, cruisin’ with my very first authentic girlfriend in her Dad’s p.o.s. convertible Chrysler LeBaron down Highway 762 by Bragg Creek, this song coming through the A.M. radio, thinkin’ to meself, “times is good”.