By Emily Schilling
Summertime and the songs heard endlessly on the radio then go together like burgers on a barbecue grill. The right catchy melody can put you in a summer vacation mood even in the dead of winter.
For me, the early 1970s oldie “I Saw the Light” conjures up a lazy summer vibe — that carefree, sunshiny, kick-off-your-flip-flops-and-dig-your-feet-in-the-sand feeling. And, Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” which was constantly repeated on the radio in the sweltering summer of 2007, reminds me of singing along during a fun family car trip to the Outer Banks.
When thinking about the songs of summer, we typically only consider the tunes of our lifetimes. But several years ago, the Boston Globe charted the hot tunes from 100 of the past summers. The resulting list parallels music with historical events and the country’s mood at the time.
During the summer of 1918, the jazzy “Tiger Rag” was the cat’s meow, and when the Roaring Twenties were in full swing five years later, “The Charleston” was the quintessential tune. In 1956, Elvis’ “Hound Dog” was the rage. Ten years later, during the Vietnam War, “Ballad of the Green Berets,” a tribute to our “fighting soldiers” topped not only the charts but our hearts.
Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and his iconic “Moonwalk” are synonymous with the summer of 1983. During this age of MTV music videos in 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” (the song, the video and the dance moves) had us striking a pose.
It’s still a bit too early to name this year’s top summer jam. But it’s the perfect time to share your personal fave summertime song.