Are you feeling the heat yet? In case you haven’t noticed, temperatures are reaching triple digits all over the country which means summertime is in full swing! And just like every year, iPods and stereos are blasting the season’s hottest jams. But just to make sure we don’t forget the all-time greats, Billboard created a list of the Ultimate Summer Songs.
30 tracks were selected for the lineup, ranging from 1950’s hits to present day. And although we would have loved to have seen more Spanish-flavored songs in the mix (Hello, do they not know about Sie7e’s “Tengo Tu Love?”), several good choices were made.
Rounding out the bottom are a few choice cuts from The Beach Boys. One of the quintessential summer bands, the Boys earned five coveted slots on the Billboard list. Classics like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” and “Surfer Girl” were all featured, though our personal fave, “Sloop John B,” was M.I.A.
Retro fans will definitely dig the #27 choice, “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. The all-girl group dominated the charts with this one back in 1983 and they’re pretty fun to watch in Billboard’s cheesy video clip.
One of the oldest songs on the list is 1958’s “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran. A timeless rockabilly classic, it’s been covered by everyone from The Who to Olivia Newton-John. Though our favorite version comes from Cheech Marin in the movie Born In East L.A.
Coming in at #21 is Alice Cooper’s head-banging fave “School’s Out.” Though it doesn’t reflect on summer staples like sandy beaches and ice cream, “School” is an essential song. Why? Because it captures that awesome feeling of knowing finals are done and three months of freedom are just around the corner.
Taking things more into present day, Justin Timberlake’s “Summer Love” cracked the Top 20 at the #19 slot. Taken from his FutureSex/LoveSounds album, this electro-pop gem topped the charts in 2007 and is regularly included in JT’s set list every time he tours.
Will Smith (back when he was known as The Fresh Prince) made it on the list too, with his 1991 smash “Summertime.” And keeping things contemporary, the #1 Billboard summer track is none other than “California Gurls” by Katy Perry.
For the record, a few Latinos made the cut too. Namely, the guys in the group War. Their 1977 hit “Summer” reached #15 on the list. True multicultural trailblazers, the funk/R&B group still rotates the track (which has been known to clock in at 15 minutes) into all of their live sets.