14 of the best sunshine-filled songs that scream Summer
Eamon Sweeney looks at the songs that have made a sunny day even sweeter throughout the decades.
Summer is just about to arrive (ANY day now), so it's time to select a suitably celebratory soundtrack.
we are not employed by Met Eireann, or blessed with Nostradamus' foresight, we can at least pick 14 cracking songs for summer 2014 that will keep you smiling regardless of the actual weather. There are a few obvious candidates that begged for inclusion, but we've thrown in one or two curve balls amongst a few pleasant strolls down memory lane.
Classic songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s rub shoulders with the hits of today in a list combining pop, hip-hop, dance, rock 'n' roll ... plus whatever you're having yourself.
We also look back at the standout songs of the last two summers, and tentatively nominate the most likely sun-kissed anthem of 2014.
Enjoy these suggestions, and whatever good weather we happen to get, but most importantly, have an absolutely amazing summer. Happy listening.
The Undertones – Here Comes The Summer (1979)
Let's get this party started with a floor-filling summer hit from the best Irish punk pop band of all time.
Inspired by the brevity of The Ramones, Here Comes The Summer is only one minute and 45 seconds long. It stands up alongside anthems like Teenage Kicks, It's Gonna Happen and My Perfect Cousin, also from the seminal Derry band.
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun (1969)
Probably the best of George Harrison's compositions, we've got to make room for a little Fab Four.
"It seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you deserve it," the late Beatle once said.
"I went over to Eric Clapton's house," he revealed while explaining the song's genesis. "The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants in the office was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes the Sun."
The Beach Boys – California Girls (1965)
Seeing as The Beach Boys pretty much perfected the art of the summer song, you really have be include this cut from their 1965 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).
In the documentary Beautiful Dreamer, Brian Wilson revealed that he conceived the classic song after taking his first tab of LSD.
It remains the Beach Boys' biggest royalty earner of a glittering, if somewhat turbulent, career.
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon (1966)
Ray Davies of The Kinks may well be Ireland bound for the imminent Dublin Writer's Festival to promote his new book, but his best known moment is still this evergreen classic that went straight to number one in the UK and Ireland back in 1966 when of course, England won the World Cup.
Like its contemporary hit Taxman by the Beatles, it references the high rates of tax brought in by Harold Wilson's Labour regime.
Donna Summer – I Feel Love (1977)
Donna Summer passed away two years ago this Saturday, May 17, 2012, but this timeless piece of pop music she co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder will live forever.
The full extent of Summer's legacy is still slightly under the radar, even though she has sold over 100 million records and is one of the best-selling artists of all time. I Feel Love is the perfect soundtrack to those long, hot summer nights. See also: Gloria Estefan's 1-2-3.
Moloko – Sing it Back (1999)
In the summer of 1999, Gay Byrne presented his last ever Late Late Show, Robbie Williams played Slane, the whole island went to the polls to vote on the Good Friday Agreement and a girl from Arklow called Roísín Murphy sung the song of the summer.
Sing It Back was a seriously slinky ditty that made every bar and club from Inchicore to Ibiza that little bit more groovy.
Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bexter – Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) (2000)
Sophie Ellis Bexter started her career fronting a fairly non-descript indie band called theaudience, but that all changed when disco house label Positiva invited her to co-write and sing on this colossal hit.
Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) also became engaged in an over-hyped and long forgotten chart battle with Victoria Beckham's first solo single. Hardly Blur v Oasis.
A Tribe Called Quest – Can You Kick It? (1991)
It wouldn't be summer without a blast of hip-hop, but rather than choose some grating gangsta rap, let's turn up this sun-kissed slice of old school heaven up to eleven.
Can You Kick It? features an irresistible sample from the late Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side.
The spoken voice introducing the band is none other than legendary UK DJ Pete Tong.
Beats International – Dub Be Good to Me (1990)
Norman Cook has been responsible for a plethora of sizzling summer hits from Happy Hour by The Housemartins to Fatboy Slim's The Rockafeller Skank.
Between the demise of the Housemartins and his Fatboy Slim alias conquering the world, Cook based an irresistible bass line around Guns of Brixton by The Clash. The rest is summer song history.
The Stone Roses – She Bangs The Drums (1989)
The Stone Roses' first chart hit is by far the Manchester band's most summery song.
Two years ago, the band reunited for three gigantic concerts in their hometown, plus two massive summer shows in the Phoenix Park and Boucher Fields in Belfast.
If you want to re-live the euphoric nostalgia of those unforgettable nights, check out Shane Meadows' brilliant fly on the wall documentary Made of Stone.
Ash – Oh Yeah (1996)
This bittersweet teenage love story is the Downpatrick band's best-known song. They really don't come as summery as a song that opens with the lyric, "Oh yeah, she was taking me over ... oh yeah, it was the start of the summer."
Incidentally, the backing vocals are sung by Lisa Moorish, a singer-songwriter best known for having children with both Liam Gallagher and Pete Doherty.
Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais – Summertime Sadness (2013)
Lana Del Ray scored a hit with the third single from Born to Die all over the world, but this remix by the Miami Beach based French DJ Cedric Gervais brought it into a whole new stratosphere a year later.
It gave Gervais a Grammy for his troubles, while delivering the ultimate sleeper hit to Del Rey. This version of Summertime Sadness radiates a curiously uplifting sense of melancholy and is perfect for any play list on those endless summer nights.
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (2013)
I think it is fair to say that Get Lucky was the hands down hit of the summer of 2013 as the robots, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers co-created some serious summertime magic.
It gave all involved one of the biggest hits of their respective careers, which is seriously saying something when you look at the CVs of those boys.
But surely it doesn't get any bigger and better than Linda Martin covering your song on The Saturday Night Show?
Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be (2014)
Calvin Harris might be budding for summer anthem glory with his aptly titled number one hit Summer, but let's face it, it's not even one of his best songs.
Rather Be is one of those bouncy, breezy sunny tunes that just screams summer.
Also, Rather Be has just beaten the streaming record previously held by Get Lucky. It has become the first song to stay at number one for four consecutive weeks since Adele's monster hit Someone Like You.
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent