Summer here is like dating a supermodel. Don’t get too used to the concept because both will eventually disappear in a hurry, albeit for completely different reasons.
The trick is to enjoy either while you can because the clock is running on both from day one.
We sing the praises of beautiful women in probably 90 per cent of our music and 95 per cent of that collection is about the heartache suffered when these women pull the ripcord on the relationship and leave a guy back in the love plane currently headed rapidly toward the ground.
Summer gets a better break in popular music even though it leaves us in a lurch every year with merciless regularity and few feelings of regret. Summer always comes back for a brief fling which is just long enough for us to get really wrapped up in the relationship once again until the first frost when we say goodbye to the best three months of the year. Then we can spend the next nine months writing love songs about summer.
I have a personal list of favourite summer songs compiled from a lifetime of exposure to that short and fickle season. We heard these songs on the radio in the heat of the moment when summer was in full swing and the song embraced the sultry season.
Who can forget Summer’ by War which is now a period piece with its references to CB radios and 8 tracks? It still embraces the essence of summer even with its 70s reference points strongly ingrained into its lyrics because “It’s summer . . . my time of year”, to quote War, and that is the heart and soul of this summer classic.
Frank Sinatra always knew his way around a song and even the Chairman of the Board had a summer masterpiece called Summer Wind which is essentially a double whammy because Frank loses the season and the girl in the song. This Sinatra classic has a sad overall tone but it also embodies the notion that all good things must come to an end, whether it’s summer or fleeting romance.
Personally I think Frank found plenty of both in his real life, but he had a great song.
One of my favourite summer tunes is A Summer Place by Canada’s own Percy Faith. This song reminds me of the legendary family vacations where oversized cars still weren’t big enough for even more oversized baby boomer families.
Instrumentals had to convey a mood to deliver their message and there is a real summer feel to this Mancini classic with its blend of violins and horns which reach into a very grand vision of our grandest annual season. If we were all still pagans, A Summer Place would be our most powerful hymn to the gods of summer.
There is no way that I could discuss summer songs without including Nat King Cole’s Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer because this song is summer in all its glory.
There is nothing particularly complicated about the message in this upbeat anthem to summer fun and that is the real philosophy behind the season. Beers and babes, it doesn’t get any better than that in a summer song
Jim Sutherland is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.