10. "Summer Nights"
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
Popular everywhere from bar mitzvahs to karaoke bars, "Summer Nights" is one of those great movie songs that appeal to everyone. Made famous by John Travolta and Olivia Newton Jones in the movie "Grease" in 1978, the legacy of Danny and Sandy's summer fling lives on in the faux-'50s tune that warmed up to the top five at the height of the disco era.
"Hot Fun In The Summertime"
Sly & The Family Stone
With a mellow, funky horns and bassline and soulful vocals, Sly & the Family Stone's easy-going hit entered the Hot 100 the same month the group played the most iconic summer festival of all time, Woodstock. In the tune, each member expresses a line about what they love most about summer, however they all agree, "That's when I had most of my fun... those summer days." Particularly the summer days when you manage to be part of music history.
The Beach Boys
Namechecking every popular surfing spot, The Beach Boys certainly did their research for summer jam "Surfin' U.S.A." They sang they'd be gone all summer, and hey, if they didn't make it back before school starts, "tell the teacher we're surfing." The song, a reworking of the tune from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," reached the top five of the Hot 100 in 1963.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
"This is the Fresh Prince's new definition of summer madness," rapped Will Smith before he was an international movie star back in 1991 when he was still the rapping cohort of DJ Jazzy Jeff and a newly-minted sitcom actor. Smith was giving props to their sample of Kool & the Gang's "Summer Madness," and that hook helped the duo earn a No. 4 peak on the Hot 100.
"Endless Summer Nights"
"Endless Summer Nights" finds Richard Marx waxing hopeful about a summer fling he wants to develop into more, despite his girl's resistance. This ballad must've done the trick, because he later married the woman he was on vacation with when he was inspired to write the song. "Endless Summer Nights" reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1988.
Jan & Dean
"We're goin' to Surf City / 'cause its two to one" sing Jan and Dean of the girl-to-guy ratio that awaits them in some tasty beachside locale - that is, if their '30 Ford Wagon doesn't break down along the way. The surf rock track rode the airwaves to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1963.
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini"
Decades before Yoplait turned it into the soundtrack to a commercial about achieving your summer perfect beach body, in 1960 Bryan Hyland hit with this ode to one girl so shy about showing her daring two-piece swimsuit at the beach that she sat wrapped up in a blanket and then hid in the water until she turned blue.
Summer anthems are often defined by the sing-a-long factor. Aside from the manic laugh and shriek of the song's title at the beginning, The Surfaris' "Wipeout" is the exception to the rule, with almost 3 minutes of surf-guitar instrumental magic and one of the most memorable drum beats of all time.
"Summer In The City"
The Lovin' Spoonful
"All around, people lookin' half dead... But at night, it's a different world," sings John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful, contrasting a New York summer's day with the vibrant nightlife of rooftops cats out looking for kitties he much prefers. "Summer in the City," complete with honking cabs and jackhammers, scored the band a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 in 1966.
Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
With an unabashedly synthy beat and breathy vocals about a "warm, wet and wild" place and the women you find there, how could Katy Perry's perfectly timed hit -- with a smooth assist from Snoop Dogg, not have beenthe top song of summer 2010? In fact the song was so huge, it leapt from No. 18 when we first published this chart in May 2010 to No. 1 just one year later, beating out over 50 years of other hot summer songs.