Popular summer songs can bring back good times and great memories. After all, summer is a time to relax, kick back, and listen to the greatest hits.
Are you looking for the best songs about summer? This article highlights some of the greatest and most famous songs that remind you of summertime. These songs about summers feature a range of genres. Feel free to listen to these tracks while reminiscing about the season of warm weather and sun.
Pop Songs About Summer
1. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry
You could not go anywhere during the summer of 2010 without hearing “California Gurls.” Until today, it remains one of the most popular summer songs ever. It is the kind of song perfect for blasting out to your speakers, making listeners feel like they are honorary California girls. The summer-influenced song consists of fun lyrics, a bubbly beat, and electro-pop sound. It garnered positive reviews from music critics, with the majority of them labeling it a “summer anthem.”
2. “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus’ “Malibu” features simple vocals and lovestruck lyrics that remind you of summer full of love and sunshine with your loved one. The lyrics are about the happy relationship between Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. The refreshing song released in 2017 was a huge shift from what Cyrus released before. She explained that the song is not necessarily about Malibu alone. It can relate to a place where listeners feel loved, happy, and connected with nature.
3. “Summertime Sadness” by Lana del Rey
Summertime Sadness is a popular modern pop ballad that captures the bittersweet feeling of being happy in the summer but sad about something else going on in your life. Indeed, the heat of summer can sometimes inspire feelings of sadness. Here, the singer feels like she’s dancing for one, cruising along the coast by herself and feeling electrified by her relationship with a bad-boy boyfriend. However, she feels like she might lose him. The song was ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2021.
4. “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” is a track that appears on her album Lover (2019). Swift wrote the song with Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, and Jack Antonoff. Swift explained that the song was inspired “about the feeling of a summer romance,” which can lead to an intense and painful experience. The song combines synth-pop, industrial pop, and electro-pop musical styles. Critics praised the song, deeming it catchy and ethereal. Several critics also claimed it was one of the best songs on the album.
5. “Summer Girl” by HAIM
“Summer Girl” is the lead single off HAIM’s third studio album, Women in Music Pt. III. Producer Ariel Rechtshaid’s cancer diagnosis inspired the lyrics. The song’s inception started when the band was just making their second album, Something to Tell You. During the band’s time off from touring, band member Danielle Haim said she wanted to be Rechtshaid’s “sunshine—his summer when he was feeling dark.” She wrote the lyrics “I’m your summer girl” over the demo’s bass line and recorded it with her sisters. The heartfelt song expresses a fragile feeling of optimism.
6. “Paradise” by Bazzi
Bazzi’s “Paradise” is a song released in 2019. The catchy lyrics remind listeners to enjoy the present and that paradise is found here and now. According to Bazzi, “Paradise” was about a feeling and not a place. While people commonly associate “paradise” with a beach or a vacation, the “paradise” in this song describes a moment or an event from the past that makes you feel nostalgic. It can be a feeling of being young again or the time when summer was all about carefree parties by the pool. This song is Bazzi’s anthem to living in the moment and not worrying about tomorrow, but just enjoying where you are right now.
Classic Summer Songs
7. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers
Lovely Day is an upbeat song by soul and R&B singer Bill Withers for his 1977 album, Menagerie. It’s a feel-good song that fans listened to while driving down in the car on summer holidays in the 1970s. In the lyrics, he sings about his love for an unnamed partner. Even if he wakes up faced with adversity, just one look at his partner is enough for him to be inspired and have a lovely day. Toward the end, Bill Withers holds a note for 18 seconds, the longest of any Top 40 single in the US.
8. “Dancing in the Street” by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
“Dancing in the Street” is a song about enjoying yourself wherever you go. The idea was inspired by watching people open fire hydrants to cool off during the summer. The lyric, “Summer’s here / And the time is right / For dancing in the street,” is alluded to in several other songs. In particular, you can see a variation of this lyric in “Street Fightin’ Man” by The Rolling Stones and “Racing in the Street” by Bruce Springsteen. Since 1964, many artists have covered this song, including The Kinks, Tages, and Grateful Dead.
9. “Summer Nights” by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
“Summer Nights” from the musical Grease was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John recorded a popular version of the song for the film adaptation of the musical. It became a massive worldwide hit during the summer of 1978. In the song, Danny and Sandy sing their versions of the same story to different friends. Danny talks about his summer romance with Sandy to his greaser friends, The T-Birds. Sandy explains to her girlfriends, the Pink Ladies, that they only held hands and drank lemonade.
10. “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
“In the Summertime” is a single recorded by British rock band Mungo Jerry in 1970. The song, written and composed by band member Ray Dorset, celebrates the carefree days of summer. During its release, the song sold over 16 million copies worldwide. It was also Britain’s biggest-selling single, making it the “song of the summer.” This enduring hit finds its way onto playlists every summer. It is constantly being commissioned for movies, TV shows, and commercials.
11. “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters
The Drifters’ 1964 song “Under the Boardwalk” is about lovers who plan to discreetly spend time together in a seaside town. Their romantic rendezvous involves hiding from the sight of others in a secluded hideaway under a boardwalk. The percussion in this song sounds like the shutter on a disposable camera. This detail adds to the overall theme of summer fun and the beach. In particular, it’s related to the lyric where the couple is “having some fun under the boardwalk” and taking some photos. Many artists have covered this iconic summer song, including The Rolling Stones, The Jackson 5, and Bruce Willis.
12. “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett
Famous for its lyrics reflecting a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate, “Margaritaville” has become synonymous with the musical career of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. This song is one of the best representations of Buffett’s Gulf-and-western style, which often mixes tropical rhythms with pop melodies. It was his most popular single in 1977 when it reached No. 8 on the pop charts. This song is about the margaritas Buffett found at Lung’s Cocina del Sur, a Key West restaurant.
Rock Songs About Summer
13. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
“Summer of ’69” is a popular song by Bryan Adams recorded in 1986. He wrote the song with long-time collaborator Jim Vallance, who wrote several songs for the rock band Aerosmith. The song is about a young man’s dilemma between being a rock star and settling down. Adams later claimed that the song’s title is not a reference to the year 1969. Instead, he said it was about making love in the summertime, using ’69 as a sexual reference. However, co-writer Vallance disputes this claim.
14. “Island In The Sun” by Weezer
Weezer’s cheerful “Island in the Sun” describes a carefree getaway. It is the second single from their second self-titled album Weezer, released in 2001. The band exposes their gentle side instead of their usual hits with heavy guitars. This song is about escaping with someone special to an island paradise. This track from the band Weezer features some lovely harmonies and is a fun summer song with a much lighter sound.
15. “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley
“Boys of Summer” is a song from 1984 by American singer Don Henley. Henley wrote lyrics while Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers composed the music. The lyrics sing about aging and questioning the past. It features a nostalgic look back on summer love and the longing for that youthful love. “Boys of Summer” was a huge hit, earning Grammys for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and MTV Video of the Year.
16. “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts
Seals and Crofts’ 1972 single “Summer Breeze” is a feel-good classic about enjoying some simple pleasures in life with the ones you love. The singer is content with his life and appreciates the simple joys of domestic life. The singer notes that jasmine is blooming, which triggers happy memories for him. The jasmine flower blooms in the summer, and Seal and Croft use it to create a mood of contentment and harmony.
17. “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks
“Sunny Afternoon” is a song written by Ray Davies. The track was featured on the Kinks’ Face to Face album and featured on the band’s 1967 compilation album of the same name. The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” was a satirical hit written by the band against England’s new progressive tax. Despite its title, this tune is the opposite of light-hearted. In the song, Davies sings to the rich and famous who have enough money to live on despite paying the new progressive tax.
18. “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper
School’s Out is recorded by the rock band Alice Cooper, regarded as their signature song. Its lyrics celebrate the freedom of summer vacation. Its verses not only indicate that the school year ended for the summer, but it ended forever because the school itself has been blown up. Alice Cooper used the childhood rhyme, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.”
Hip-hop Songs About Summer
19. “Hot Girl Summer” by Megan Thee Stallion feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign
Since its release in 2019, Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s summer hit, “Hot Girl Summer,” has been a sensation. The track features Ty Dolla $ign for the chorus and Nicki Minaj for a featured verse. Megan Thee Stallion has coined and popularized the catchphrase “Hot Girl Summer.” After months of viral growth and the creation of various memes, Megan filed to trademark the term in late 2019.
20. “Feels Like Summer” by Childish Gambino
The hit track “Feels Like Summer” is from Childish Gambino’s album, “3.15.20.” The song was released on July 11, 2018, in the middle of the summer. The upbeat rhythm and the dreamy instrumentation of this song create an overall positive vibe. The lyrics, however, list several issues facing our world today. Gambino used summer as a metaphor to outline the world problems like the growing world population, artificial intelligence, climate change, water scarcity, air pollution, dying bees, and deforestation.
21. “Summer Friends” by Chance The Rapper feat. Jeremiah & Francis & The Lights
“Summer Friends” is a nostalgic song about Chance’s childhood. It features a dreamy, hymn-like intro by Francis and the Lights. The song contrasts innocent summertime nostalgia with the violence of Chance’s hometown Chicago. He reminisces and mentions how he misses his friends who were killed in his hometown. He pleas for change and wants to end the violence.
22. “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s single “Summertime” was released in 1990. It won a Grammy Award for best rap single in 1991. The song is about Will Smith (The Fresh Prince) and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s experiences living in Philadelphia during the summer. The song’s instrumentation samples the 1979 “Summer Madness” by Kool & the Gang.
23. “SUMMER” by The Carters
This track is from The Carters’ surprise collaborative album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE. It interpolates JAY-Z’s “Beach Is Better” from 2013. The Carters is a musical duo composed of married artists Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The song’s lyrics are about the couple being intimate with each other, as the two sing together about their love “in the summertime.” JAY-Z and Beyonce relax and be passionate together while taking in the summer sun.
There is no shortage of summer-themed songs, but these 23 are some of the best and will get you in the mood to celebrate summer. Keep the summer vibes going all year long by creating a playlist with these great songs!