Summer is rolling into gear, and with it come all those celebrations that only happen in the sun. From barbeques to beaches, from parades to potlucks, this season is a time for people to get together and enjoy themselves. Good music only makes those gatherings greater, so here’s a list of ten albums that best accompany the many moods of summer.
10. Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa – John Philip Sousa
Nothing says summer like 4th of July parades, and nothing says a parade like a full marching band sounding “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” You’ll find that classic in this comprehensive collection, along with many other patriotic tunes like the “U.S. Field Artillery March” and “Keeping Step with the Union.” It’s perfect for your boombox as you watch floats and fire trucks cruise down Main Street.
9. Best of Simon and Garfunkle – Simon and Garfunkle
Cool, relaxed, and beautiful, the songs of Simon and Garfunkle are the perfect accompaniment to a quiet summer picnic. Just skip over “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” and the album goes well with a spread of sandwiches under a clear sky.
8. The Greatest Hits – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
When driving to and from all these bits of summer fun, you want to keep energy in the air. The funky beats of rap’s forefathers, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, never disappoint. Perfect for blasting from your car as you cruise around the summer.
7. Back in Black – AC/DC
When you just want to let loose and have a big dumb boozer of a party, Back in Black is just the thing to get you started. It’s unapologetically loud and catchy, and guests at any party will be hard pressed not to join in on any of the many memorable choruses.
6. Dance Party – Martha and the Vandellas
Bigger parties require bigger sounds, and the brassy Motown beats of Martha and the Vandellas can keep a party going all night. The classic “Dancing in the Street” is their best known track, but the rest of the album has plenty of energy and soul for a neighborhood block party.
5. Nyana – DJ Tiesto
If your summer soir©es go deep into the night, you’ll want this album by the famed DJ Tiesto. His remixes bring out the best of trance, producing the mind-blowing buildups that his club nights are renowned for.
4. Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival
If you’re “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” on a cool summer evening, you’ll want to have this album in the background. CCR’s swamp rock sound is just the thing for an easy get-together with friends and a couple of brews. Nothing overly sophisticated, just good old-fashioned rock with a swinging country flavor.
3. Our Live Album is Better than Your Live Album – Reel Big Fish
Utterly silly but insanely catchy, this album provides goofy fun for kicking summer days. The offbeat rhythms and horns give a jazzy but rocking sound, and the band’s interactions with the audience should encourage you to get to a few concerts of your own before the summer ends.
2. The Complete Upsetter Singles – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Reggae is some of the ultimate feel-good music, and this album shows the genre’s best band at its peak. Musically stimulating but also simply relaxed, Bob Marley can keep a gathering chill.
1. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) – The Beach Boys
With the season right there in the album title, the Beach Boys offer a slew of summer songs perfect for lounging on your favorite sands. Yet while being a celebration of the Californian laid-back lifestyle, the tracks on this album also point to the mature Beach Boys who would release Pet Sounds in 1966. The lush strings on “California Girls” and subtle melodies of “Girl Don’t Tell Me” make this a thinking person’s summer album, and it’s this ability to be enjoyed on multiple levels that makes it number one on this list.