Sounds of Summer



Music is part of everything in life, we get married with a special song, there are break-up songs (and certainly make-up songs), we choose music for Christmas, funerals, and all other special occasions. Summer conjures up the best in Canadians, who suffer through long winters just to have three months of sunshine. Classics like  In the Summertime, (Mungo Jerry) Here Comes the Sun, (Beatles) Sunny Days, (Lighthouse) Sunshine Superman (Donovan) all get rotation once again when the thermometer rises.
We asked the Cashbox journalists  to write about one song that brings back summer memories for them and why. Surprising choices!

Sandy by Bruce Springsteen
An angst-earpiece of midsummer bittersweet teenage longings with Da Boss at his most poetic and evocative. Dude was never to hit the lyrical heights he reached here with lines like: “Sandy, the waitress under the boardwalk lost her desire for me/ I spoke with her last night she said she won’t set herself on fire for me anymore.”

Ooooh yeaah, can’t you just feel the throbbing teenage heat?

The summer feeling this song takes me back to is that all-consuming sense that anything is possible when you hit the streets or the boardwalk with your buds at the beginning of a warm summer night and you’re seventeen years old.

In winter, the weather closes in on you, body and soul. In summer the sky’s the limit, the stars are alive, the night spilling over with possibility and potential, and when you’re seventeen, you just know it’s all gonna be good.

Sandy Bruce Springsteen

The Hissing of Summer Lawns- Joni Mitchell
I don’t know exactly why I picked this beyond loving Mitchell’s prose and the fact Tom Scott’s L.A. Express play on this – purveyors of the first round of smooth jazz. I recorded this with jazz saxophonist John Handy in 1978 for his side – Where Go the Boats. John loved the melody and most anything Mitchell scripted. She has a flexible sense of time, melody and location. I get the message and remember suburbia and the claustrophobic landscape. Only lived there once. I get the bored ‘70s housewives with little to do but bounce house to house and engage in gossip and men in suits driving long distances into the big city. My have times changed but great songs linger!

The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Joni Mitchell

Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys
Nothing says summer to me better than The Beach Boys. Growing up going to summer dances and seeing Montreal bands like JB & The Playboys, Bartholomew Plus Three, The Rabble, The Haunted;  all hosted by DJ’s like Dean Hagopian and Dave Boxer. It didn’t get any better than that in 1966. We were kids and life was simpler then. Or so we thought. There are so many songs that bring me back to different times in my life, but the Beach Boys and summer are all one word to me. Enjoy the long weekend!
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James and the Shondells
It was the summer of 1969, and Tommy James and Morris Levy’s son flew into the radio station and landed on the roof of the Sheraton Hotel where WNCR was on the top floor penthouse. They arrived in support his new release which was making me crazy, a perfect single “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”

It was blue eyed soul at its best and the song cross all cultural boundaries set up at that time, we did not sing it I the streets but it was a heartfelt universally loved song.

It fit perfectly with the Youngblood’s “Get Together”, which was the song of my generation and released twice to make sure it covered the era.

Summer memories blazing like the hot sun.

Tommy James and the Shondells - Crystal Blue Persuasion

Summer in the City - The Lovin’ Spoonful
The song that brings summer to mind for me is Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful. I think this spoke to me because I grew up in the city, sans the lake breezes, birds chirping, leaves rustling summer things. The Spoonful’s song was really summer in the city. Noisy jackhammers and horns honking. The lyrics were well painted as well. “Cool cat, lookin for a kitty. Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” Loved it. “ All around people lookin half dead, walkin on the sidewalk hotter than a match head.”

Bring on summer.

Summer In The City - The Lovin’ Spoonful