Top 30 Summer Songs

The sun is shining, the beaches are crowded and the bodies are tanned, which can only mean one thing: Summer 2013 is in full swing. To celebrate the return of our favorite season, we've scoured the Billboard chart archives and updated this definitive list of the most popular songs about summer ever recorded.

These 30 hot tunes with summer-specific themes are ranked based on each track's performance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from August 4, 1958 -- the inception of the chart -- through the chart dated May 25, 2013. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. (For more details on how this chart was compiled, scroll to the bottom of this page.)

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The ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Prior to the Hot 100's implementation in 1991 of enhanced radio and sales information from Nielsen BDS and Nielsen SoundScan, songs had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation, earlier time frames were each weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those decades and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.

Text by Courtney Baldasare, Melanie Fried, Gabriella Landsman, and Jessica Letkemann

30

"Surfin' Safari"

The Beach Boys
As is often the case, the Beach Boys pay homage to their favorite sport in their 1962 pop hit "Surfin' Safari," with lines about loading up their Woodie -- that's a 'board-friendly station wagon for you gremmies -- and inviting the world to the best beaches for waves. With a catchy beat and great harmonies, the song reaffirmed surf tunes' appeal, residing on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks.
29

"Summertime"

Perhaps one of the most widely covered tunes, "Summertime" epitomizes the season's lighthearted ethos. Billy Stewart's 1966 crossover rendition, which is embellished with jazzy horns, bluesy guitar, and funky, scatting vocals, peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100.
28

"Wipeout"

Fat Boys and the Beach Boys
The rap-n-surf-guitar track came complete with a skit-y video featuring the ultimate boys of summer, the Beach Boys and the Fat Boys, the ultimate '80s hip-hop boys of dinner, throwing hula hoops and surfboards into the car for a sojourn to the beach. Not that anyone really needed to see either the Fat Boys in board shorts or the Beach Boys scrachin' on the turntables. Wipeout, indeed.
27

"Cruel Summer"

Bananarama
For summer days when you're feeling down, Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" is the companion who understands your discontent. The somewhat downbeat dance-pop track, which cozied up to the Hot 100 in 1983, bemoans the harsh heat of loneliness that can make any summer a drag.
26

"Summertime Blues"

Eddie Cochran
Eddie Cochran knows how much it sucked to be a teenager, even back in 1958. His slightly rebellious hit "raised a holler" about just how much of a bummer it is to have to work all summer instead of frolicking with your girl and your friends. The tune, appropriately featured in the 1980 film "Caddyshack," may claim there's no cure for the summertime blues, but we'd guess it sure beats sitting in school.
 
25

A Summer Song

Chad & Jeremy
Capturing the sweet sadness of saying farewell to summer love, Chad & Jeremy employ delicate, simple vocals over chugging drums and rich acoustic guitar plucks. In this tune, which entered the Hot 100 in 1964, the folk rock duo reminds the listener that there are always the memories to keep you warm in the fall.
 
24

"Suddenly Last Summer"

The Motels
For those with any nostalgia for the decade of Pac-Man and leg warmers, The Motels' "Suddenly Last Summer," which peaked on the Hot 100 in 1983, will satisfy any craving for '80s summer music. Over a catchy drum beat and spacey guitar, the emotionally distraught Martha Davis explains in a hot, dusty voice that though the seasons change, that doesn't mean the summer has to end.
 
23

"Surfer Girl"

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys' name alone should conjure images of summer, with the Cali group's many carefree songs about surfing, cars, and girls. Peaking on the Hot 100 at No. 7 in 1963, "Surfer Girl," a romantic ballad channeling the likes of '50s doo wop, is no exception, with vocal harmonies that will make you yearn for a summer fling with whom to sway along.
22

"Summer Breeze"

 

 

Seals & Crofts
1972

Seals and Crofts' classic is everything the season's about: mellow vibes. The fellas let the wind blow through their locks on this one. Back in '72, this single peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100.

21

"School's Out"

Alice Cooper
1972

With heavy eyeliner and a snarling, guitar-driven swagger, Alice Cooper took the sweet, innocent idea of the first day of summer break, and turned it into an emancipation proclamation for ditching class permanently. School, he growled, was not only out for summer, "School's out forever!" The gritty tune peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1972.


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