Whether you’re headed out on the open road, relaxing by the pool, or grilling with family and friends, music is an essential part of the summer season. The best way to share and enjoy the songs you like most is to create your very own custom summer soundtrack.
In order to put together a perfect summer soundtrack, remember that it takes time, practice, and, ultimately, a great range of artists and genres to fit your moods and activities. Since today’s hits are sure to be blaring on the radio already, let’s instead focus on some older, less recognizable songs and artists that fit the following typical summer situations:
Road Trip: It may be the ultimate challenge for any musical compilation. You’re in the car, possibly for hours, and music is your one salvation. The good news is that there are countless songs that are sure to put you into the road trip spirit. Here are a few that would make almost any list:
- “Slow Ride” by Foghat – The name says it all.
- “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts – A perfect road trip anthem.
- “Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio – An off-the-beaten-path (pun very intended) suggestion. Will make the drive almost as much fun as the destination!
- “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley – What could be better for a trip with the guys?
- For a girls-only weekend, you can’t go wrong with the Lenny Kravitz version of “American Woman.”
Basking in the Sun (and the Down Time): Few things offer the kind of simple pleasure as does basking in the sun. Whether on a beach blanket, on a favorite comfy outdoor chair, or in a hammock, it’s one of the best ways to relax and wind down. So with that laid-back vibe in mind, accompany your well-deserved break with these mellow tunes:
- “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson – A subtle reminder there’s always a party going on.
- “Could You Be Loved,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and on and on by Bob Marley – No relaxing afternoon or vacation would be complete without this musical genius.
- “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra. No artist is cooler and no song gives you the feeling of ultimate summer decadence like this one.
- From “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” and “Margaritaville,” to “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” no one captures the carefree days of summer quite like Jimmy Buffett as he reminds us all to relax and enjoy the ride.
- For a more current artist to add to your laid-back mix, Jack Johnson is a great albeit not-widely-known pick. Johnson’s folk-rock jams feature poetic lyrics and rhythms that will get everyone nodding along in approval.
Get-Togethers: Summer gives all of us more opportunities to enjoy the company of friends and family with regular get-togethers. This summer, be sure your back yard, porch, or patio is ready with the right music to get everyone in a celebratory mood.
- “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond – We dare you to find someone who doesn’t know the words, and nothing gets a party going quite like a singalong.
- They aren’t called The Beach Boys because they’re great for listening to on a rainy day. Their upbeat tracks are perfect background for any summer gathering.
- Make it a Motown evening with hits from The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, or any of your other Hitsville USA favorites.
- Any of The Beatles’ classics would be perfect for a family and friends get-together. From slower tracks like “Let it Be” and “Yesterday.” to more rocking fare like “Can’t Buy me Love” and “Twist and Shout,” you really can’t go wrong.
- Having a Family Reunion or just entertaining all the relatives? If so, you simply have to include Sister Sledge’s “We are Family” to the mix!