Top 65 Classic Summertime Songs For Your Summer Playlist

LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 1962: Rock and roll band
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The beach, the bikinis, the parties, the romances — music ties them together to remind you of summer memories or help you make new ones. Since the combination of summer lyrics and beachy beats gained popularity thanks to the Beach Boys in the early 1960s, the definition of summer songs has changed as the decades have passed. From surfing, California girls, breakups and hookups to chillin’ with a margarita in hand, the words were matched with catchy tunes that turned hot days into cool fun! Go ahead, dust off some records, rewind that mixtape and start your endless summer as you remember these songs and take a trip down memory lane.

MUSCLE BEACH PARTY, Dick Dale, Stevie Wonder, 1964

Everett Collection

’50s & ’60s Surf Rock brought us all to the beach

LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 1962: Rock and roll band "The Beach Boys" pose for a portrait with a vintage station wagon in August 1962 in Los Angeles, California. (L-R) Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson (under Mike Love), Brian Wilson, David Marks.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Surf rock began as an instrumental sound in the late ’50s and early ’60s with songs like “Pipeline” by the Chantays, “Wipe Out by the Surfaris, and “Misirlou by Dick Dale & the Del-Tones. The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and the Trashmen were the first groups to add lyrics about summer activities and the California climate to the beachy-sounding music. Their songs were about girls, car cruises and the surf craze, and they were accompanied with fast guitar strings, saxophones and harmonizing falsettos. Some of the ’60s hits were “Surf City,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Drag City,” “King of the Surf” and “Surfin’ Bird.”

Are you a disco dancer or a rocker?

Donna Summer performs on stage, circa 1975.

GAB Archive/Redferns

By the 1970s, the peace and love mantra of the hippies was still present. Songs about romances were still popular, but the feminist movement helped women realize it was OK to be single and have fun while the men didn’t have to commit to relationships. Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff was a disco anthem for all the single ladies, and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, sung by Elton John and Kiki Dee, could be turned into a singalong moment at any car ride or party. Meanwhile, the laid-back rhythms of “In the Summertimeby Mungo Jerry and “Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett were about having a drink and doing as you pleased when the weather is hot even if it means trying to forget your lover.

Totally ’80s

There was no shortage of summertime songs in the ’80s, either. Top hits included Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69,” Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer and “Wild Summer Nights by John Cafferty as made popular by the 1983 film Eddie and the Cruisers.

Top 65 Summertime Songs


Put on your sunglasses, grab a drink and soak up the sun as you sing along to your favorite summer songs and make new memories this year. Which songs turn your summer into endless fun?

Note: The list is in order of song release date.

1. “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” Ted Lewis and His Orchestra (1930)

2.“One Summer Night,” The Danleers (1958)

3. “Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran (1958)

4. “Here Comes Summer,”  Jerry Keller (1959)

5. “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini,” Brian Hyland (1960)

6. “Let’s Twist Again,” Chubby Checker (1961)

7. “School Is Out,” Gary (U.S.) Bonds (1961)

8. “Misirlou,” Dick Dale & the Del-Tones (1962)

9. “Surfin’ Safari,” The Beach Boys (1962)

10. “Drag City,” Jan & Dean (1963)

11. “King of the Surf,” The Trashmen (1963)

12. “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave,” Martha and the Vandellas (1963)

13. “Pipeline,” The Chantays (1963)

14. “Surf City, Jan & Dean (1963)

15. “Surfer Girl,” The Beach Boys (1963)

16. “Surfer Joe,” The Surfaris (1963)

17. “Surfin’ Bird,” The Trashmen (1963)

18. “Surfin’ USA,” The Beach Boys (1963)

19. “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” Nat King Cole (1963)


20. “Wipe Out,” The Surfaris (1963)

21. “Dancing in the Street,” Martha and the Vandellas (1964)

22. “I Get Around,” The Beach Boys (1964)

23. “A Summer Song,” Chad & Jeremy (1964)

24. “Under the Boardwalk,” The Drifters (1964)

25. “California Girls,” The Beach Boys (1965)

26. “Summer in the City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)

27. “Summer Wind,” Frank Sinatra (1966)

28. “Summertime,” Billy Stewart (1966)

29. “Sunny Afternoon,” The Kinks (1966)

30. “Sunshine Superman,” Donovan (1966)

31. “Summer Rain,” Johnny Rivers (1967)

32. “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles (1969)

33. “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly & the Family Stone (1969)

34. “You Are My Sunshine,” Johnny Cash (1969)

35. “In the Summertime,” Mungo Jerry (1970)

36. “American Pie,” Don McLean (1971)

37. “Sun Is Shining,” Bob Marley and the Wailers (1971)

38. “Saturday in the Park,” Chicago (1972)

39. “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper (1972)

40. “Summer Breeze,” Seals & Crofts (1972)

41. “Summer Madness,” Kool & the Gang (1974)

42. “Sunshine City,” KC & the Sunshine Band (1975)

43. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Elton John and Kiki Dee (1976)

44. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” Roy Ayers (1976)

45. “Summer,” War (1976)

46. “Lovely Day,” Bill Withers (1977)

47. “Margaritaville,” Jimmy Buffett (1977)

48. “Rockaway Beach,” The Ramones (1977)

49. “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” Meat Loaf (1977)

50. “Summer Nights,” Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta (1978)

51. “Bad Girls,” Donna Summer (1979)

52. “Hot Stuff,” Donna Summer (1979)

53. “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama (1983)

54. “Suddenly Last Summer,” The Motels (1983)

55. “That Summer Feeling,” Jonathan Richman (1983)

56. “Wild Summer Nights,” John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band (1983)

57. “The Boys of Summer,” Don Henley (1984)

58. “Magic,” The Cars (1984)

59. “Summer of ’69,” Bryan Adams (1984)

60. “Centerfield,” John Fogerty (1985)

61. “Walking on Sunshine,” Katrina and the Waves (1985)

62. “California Girls,” David Lee Roth (1985)

63. “Ask,” The Smiths (1986)

64. “Endless Summer Nights,” Richard Marx  (1988)

65. “Summertime,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (1991)

Summer's Biggest Movies, Music & TV
Want More?

Summer's Biggest Movies, Music & TV

July 2017

Summer nights at the drive-in, summer love, songs for the beach and tiki time!

Buy This Issue
More Of This: