Three Songs Of Summer

Hooray, it’s summer in my section of Planet Earth! Hooray, day after day has been hotter than hell! Hooray, the humidity has been flaunting its energy-sapping powers majestically! Hooray, early last week I was sweating like a frigging pig and well on my way to heat-stroke territory while mowing the lawn under a ridiculously strong, early-evening sun!

Summer . . .   for the last 25 or more years I have placed it in the This Kind Of Sucks category.

When I was a kid and teen and young adult, though, summer was the best. I loved going to the beach, spreading out on the sands for hours atop a blanket and happily slathering Coppertone suntan oil on nearly every exposed inch of my body in the hopes that my pale white-guy skin would achieve at least a smidgeon of brownish tint. Yeah man, roasting under heat rays generously sent to us from 93,000,000 miles away was the way to go. Sunscreen? Fuggedaboutit. It hadn’t been invented yet and probably would have been laughed off the stage even if it had. Too bad that I, like all guys and girls back then, didn’t have Nostradamus-like abilities to gaze into the future and marvel at the many visits to dermatologists’ offices that awaited us.

Anyway, there I was at 10:00 AM, a few days after mowing the lawn, on a journey to my local supermarket. As I pulled out of my driveway I partly rolled down a couple of windows to let some of the suffocating heat escape. It was already 82° Fahrenheit outside and a hell of a lot hotter than that inside the car. Should I turn on the A/C, I wondered? Nah. The supermarket was only seven minutes away. Only a wuss would need cooled air for a trip of such short duration. Me, I’m not a wuss. I’m a man. More or less.

Seven minutes later, with sweat flowing off me faster than a mountain stream, I arrived at my destination. Good thing I’d had good company along the way. By which I mean I heard a great song on the radio, one that hadn’t crossed my path in ages. Summer Breeze it was, but not the 1972 original by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts, who authored the tune together and had a monster hit with it. The Seals & Crofts recording is a-ok, a gentle and calming invocation of warm summer nights. But the station I was listening to, SiriusXM satellite radio’s Soul Town, played the 1973 cover version by The Isley Brothers.

I’ve always preferred the way The Isleys handle the song to Seals & Crofts’ approach. The complexity of the arrangement, the Chinese-sounding entry into the song, those shimmering, impossibly high voices, the gorgeous electric guitar solo that starts shortly after the four-minute mark and keeps on going to song’s end two minutes later . . . I tell you, in the car I was carried away by Summer Breeze’s grace and power. Here it is:

I completed my rounds inside the supermarket in a semi-flash. On my way home I punched Soul Town’s button once again, usually a good idea. I love that channel. The station came on mid-song. And the song — Hot Fun In The Summertime — was one that nobody in his or her right mind ever will complain about. Sly And The Family Stone put it out in 1969, during their glory days. It’s a champ. Dig the pounding piano that never lets up, those exuberant vocals, the piercing trumpet. Hot Fun’s good vibes guided me back to my house.

Wow, two songs about summer had found me during the handful of minutes I’d been in my car. As a massive believer in the gods of the blogosphere, I had no doubt that a mighty message was directed my way. And that the message was this: “Yo, you who is wearing the incredibly sweat-stained Fred Flintstone tee shirt, listen up! It is your duty to fashion a story out of the first three uplifting summer-themed songs that you hear today. Yes, the songs must invoke summer’s good times, despite the fact that you no longer are a fan of the hot season.”

“And remember,” the message continued, “your story must focus on three songs, not merely two. There is something special about groups of three, such as the three strands of hair remaining on the crown of your head.”

Well, back at the ranch I turned on the stereo system and began flipping from one station to another. I did this on and off for several hours. I knew that a great number, such as The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer In The City or Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime soon would be heading my way. When it didn’t arrive I started to fidget and worry. I had been commanded to compose an opus, but there was only so much time I was willing to devote to the enterprise. Finally though, WRDV, the low-wattage radio station located not far from my home, delivered the goods at 3:15 PM. But my heart sank a little, for through the speakers came one of the summery songs I’ve never been thrilled about: Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer, in this instance sung by the great Nat King Cole. Corny lyrics abound. I suppose that in some sense they seem charming, especially if you’ve tied one on and feel compelled to sing along with all your might. The blogging gods obviously are taken with the song, or otherwise they’d not have placed me in position to hear it. Who am I to argue? Okay then, here we go — a one, a two and a three — “Roll out those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer . . . ”

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story on social media)

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56 thoughts on “Three Songs Of Summer

  1. The Artist's Child July 27, 2017 / 12:44 am

    Yes, bring on the summer. It’s a cloudy cold day in Melbourne. Thank you for a glimpse of the heat and some summer music. I had not heard that version of Summer Breeze and it is very soulful and have never heard Hot Fun in The Summertime before. I wonder if that would sound good on the ukulele? Always looking for new material. And as for the last song, now I have a craving for pretzels!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. greenpete58 July 27, 2017 / 8:02 am

    Great songs, Neil, and I love the cartoon at the top. May I add another, one of my favorites? “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces, in honor of the Summer of Love 50 years ago. I don’t think it mentions summer, but it has a summer feeling to haunt me the rest of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thefoodandwinehedonist July 27, 2017 / 10:16 am

    What what what?!? How come I’ve never heard that Isley Bros cover?

    I’m not too familiar with them outside of Twist and Shout and Who’s That Lady (with the epic guitar solo)…. but I would’ve thought I would’ve heard this. I do like the Seals and crafts version, but this does have a summery feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Hi. Thanks for stopping by.
      The Isley Brothers do wonders with Summer Breeze. I love their version.

      Like

  4. Susanne July 27, 2017 / 10:50 am

    Your imagery of sweat leaves my wet! “…weat flowing off me faster than a mountain stream,” Love the tunes. Definitely a Seals and Crofts fan and had no idea his name was “Dash”. Was he named after “Dash Riprock” of Beverly Hillbillies fame? Probably not but I honestly didn’t know that was a legit name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 11:30 am

      Hi.
      Darrell is his given name.
      Too bad S&C broke up. Maybe they’ll reunite one of these days.

      Like

  5. Alyson July 27, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    Ha ha – A strange bit of synchronicity indeed but summer just makes us think of these kind of songs and so do the DJs (are they still called that?) who pick them. You did pick a different clip for Summer Breeze however as I went for the b&w one to fit in with the rest of my colourscheme. Fantastic song and it was news to me that it was a Seals and Crofts composition, but I still prefer The Isleys version.

    Surprised you know about Mungo Jerry as thought they were only big in the UK. The other songs I thought of for summer were Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald and one of the same name by none other than a young Will Smith – Very different but both, oh so summery.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 3:13 pm

      Hi. Yes, the Mungo Jerry song was a really big hit in the States. Not sure if anything else by them made the USA charts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. C C Cedras July 27, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    I laughed out loud at the sweaty Fred Flintstone t-shirt. HAHAHAHAHA

    Being a redhead (fading to strawberry blonde as I get old), I can relate to the wasted time trying to either get a little bit of color or at least run the freckles together in a nice, dark tan. Not only no sunscreen, but actually frying ourselves in baby oil. It’s a miracle I haven’t had anything whacked off by the dermatologist so far.

    Anyway, summer can be evoked by anything by Creedence Clearwater Revival, really. Also, Henley’s “Boys of Summer.” Got those Wayfarers on, baby.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. andrewcferguson July 27, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    As Meatloaf would say Neil, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad – I aggree with CC Cedras that Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’ would be a good third. Alternatively, Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of 69’ does it for me…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hairytoegardener July 27, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I always loved “Summer Breeze” and never knew there was another version. The Isley Brothers’ version has a lot more pizzazz with a nice side of soul.–Thanks! (Wish I could go back to that time.) And who wouldn’t like “Hot Fun in the Summertime”? Great song.

    Nat King Cole’s summertime song doesn’t “do it” for me, and I like most of Nat King Cole’s stuff too.

    One summertime song that summed up the drought of 2011 for me (when our Texas summer had over 100 days of over 100 degree weather and there was officially no moisture in the soil) was “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. While you may not like the song, the female artists in the Youtube video are pretty cute!

    Did you mention Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”? No, I see you didn’t. Like that summer song too.

    Why can’t summer be just as cool as all of the songs written about it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 5:30 pm

      Hello, and thanks for the visit.

      Summertime Blues really rocks. A great song.

      P.S. Your final paragraph asks a very good question.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Evening, Jerry.
      I’ll have to check it out on YouTube. Don’t think I know that song.
      Have a good night —

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Hello Lynette. Thanks for stopping by. These days I prefer summer after the Sun has set. It’s much nicer being outside in the evening in my humble opinion.

      Like

  9. K E Garland July 27, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    Great selections! My question this time is…do you really own a Flinstone looking shirt? lol

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Still the Lucky Few July 27, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    I loved the Isleys version of Summer Breeze, but my favorite summer song by far is Sinatra’s Summer Wind. Glad you mentioned it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cindy July 27, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Heatwave and Dancing in the Street (Martha and the Vandellas) get my votes for spirited summertime tunes! And wow, the Isley Bros. version of Summer Breeze is hot! Never heard it before–but I think it’s one of those rare covers that might actually be better than the original. Now there’s a story idea for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 27, 2017 / 11:21 pm

      Cindy, as you know I’m often scrambling when it comes to story ideas. Sometimes I feel like shouting out an SOS!

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 28, 2017 / 6:45 am

      Thanks for visiting.

      It’s true — I wouldn’t have heard The Isleys or Sly otherwise.

      Like

  12. cincinnatibabyhead July 28, 2017 / 1:10 pm

    I’m digging the Isley cut Which one of those Brothers plays that great solo? I have a Freddy t shirt. He has “Wilma” tattooed on his bicep. I’m going to wear it today. Beautiful summer day, lunch with my Gal and sporting my favorite T. Thank you Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joyce July 28, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    I am enjoying a heat wave in Florida but have the beach. Thanks for the clicks.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Aunt Beulah July 29, 2017 / 11:40 am

    Before I read this, I would have thought it impossible to build a sense of tension, anticipation, running out of time into a post about summer songs, but you did so. Amazing. My personal favorite: Hot Fun In The Summertime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 29, 2017 / 3:22 pm

      Afternoon, Janet.
      I love the Sly tune, but I think I like the Isley Brothers number even more.

      Enjoy the weekend —

      Liked by 1 person

  15. swabby429 July 30, 2017 / 7:53 am

    The song for my love/hate relationship with Summer is Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer In The City”. It’s always stuck with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. delphini510 August 1, 2017 / 3:04 am

    I have been listening to ‘Summer breeze’ ( first time ) and it had that improbably wonderful guitar solo. What a treat in the morning.
    As was the laugh at your ,wuzz?, 🌞. As to lawn mowing in that heat……did you feel like some
    self punishment was needed. 😊🎶🦋
    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 1, 2017 / 6:51 am

      Ah, the lawn. It’s getting too tall, so I have to mow it again today or tomorrow. Once again I’ll be sweating like a pig!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. S. A. Young August 1, 2017 / 8:45 am

    I love your list and it really could go on and on. So many “songs of summer” and they all conjure up specific memories….ah, youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ann Coleman August 1, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I think that Nat King Cole song was a great way to round off the post! Sometimes the “truly oldies” are the best. But take it from me, next time, use the AC in your car. It isn’t being a wimp, it just ensures that you don’t stick to the car seat.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Theskinflintphilosopher August 2, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    I don’t have many claims to obscure fame, but in reference to this can I state that I used to live next door to Mungo Jerry’s keyboard player and sell apples to his wife.
    Just thought I’d share 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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