June 15th, 2024

Rock Ramblings: Summer favourites

By Medicine Hat News on June 28, 2018.

Have you ever seen the movie “High Fidelity”? A maybe seminal two-and-a-half hours about a professional music lover wondering why all his past relationships have failed? Well, if you haven’t seen it (or read the book), you should (it has a killer soundtrack), and if you have seen it then you’ll know a major theme of the film was Top 5s; Top 5 Songs of All Time, Top 5 Track 1s Side 1s, and the like. Basically, the movie is a narrowing down of all the tunes, and relationships, that have been most important to the protagonist’s life. Which came first, the music or the misery?

Recently, after watching this movie for the thousandth time, I thought to myself, “Hey, it’s summertime, I’m wearing shorts, the windows are rolled down, and the tunes are on. But what are those tunes? If I had to choose, what would my Top 5 favourite classic summertime songs be?”

Now, as anyone who’s seen “High Fidelity” or has made a playlist knows, a lot goes into song selection for such things; it’s not as straightforward as throwing your music collection on shuffle. So, after consideration from many angles, I’ve come up with the following:

My Top 5 Favourite Summertime Songs

First up, we have Blondie’s “In The Sun.” “In the sun I’m waiting for the day, having fun in warm far away, moonlight nights water seems so clear, Oh city lights while I’m still waiting here.” Released on their self-titled debut in 1976, the track is dripping wet with summertime vibes no doubt characterized by Debbie Harry’s surfer-girl vocals. This song is me every day of the year while waiting for summer to arrive.

Secondly, The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out.” Ah surf rock, the quintessential summertime sound. I mean, who doesn’t picture themselves on the beach when they hear that guitar (not to mention The Sandlot, but I digress). Written by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson in 1962, and released a year later, “Wipe Out” literally refers to the fall from a surfboard. For those keeping track, The Ventures’ version, also released in 1963, is indeed a cover. Just give me some board wax, neoprene, sunscreen, and I’m outta here.

Next up we have Weezer “Island In The Sun.” “On an island in the sun, we’ll be playing and having fun. And it makes me feel so fine, I can’t control my brain.” Not so much a song I listen to during the summer months, but a song I listen to when I’m pining for warm weather the rest of the year. Pina Colada, anyone?

Fourth up, Loudon Wainwright III “The Swimming Song.” For a little CANCON action, I’ve added in the always-entertaining Loudon Wainwright III. A folk staple released in 1973 on his album Attempted Mustache, “The Swimming Song” is an ode to, um, swimming. Fun fact, the song was also recorded in 1976 by Loudon’s late wife, Kate McGarrigle, which also an excellent listen if you feel so inclined. In case you’re lost in the Canadian folk world, you may know these two better by their son, Rufus.

Last but not least, drumroll please, we have Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s “Summertime.” Not that I felt I absolutely had to put Summertime on this list, but the truth is, I would never have been able to live with myself if I didn’t (kind of like how you’re probably thinking the most obvious choice would have been “Boys of Summer,” but my brain is obviously in the gutter.) Composed in 1934 by George Gershwin, “Summertime” is a jazz staple, and was also recorded by artists such as Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, among, like, everyone else (sublime?). Personally, I’m an Ella disciple.

Taylor Herperger is the promotions director at 105.3 ROCK. Watch for her at events around town.

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