Some of my favorite memories growing up were created during the Summer months. As Bob Marley once sang, “Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” There are certain songs that helped create the soundtrack of each of those Summers in the ’80s and still can make you move your dancing feet. A song doesn’t necessarily have to be about Summer to create strong Summer nostalgia for me. On the other hand, there are some songs that have an obvious Summer connection because they include the word in the song title. While we get ready to remember some of those particular songs from the ’80s, there are a few notable from other decades that just missed qualifying for this list. “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was released in 1991, “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry was released in 1970, “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts was released in 1972, “Summer, Highland Falls” by Billy Joel was from 1976 and “Summer Nights” from Grease is from 1978 to name just a few favorites.
The list can include any song released from 1980-1989 that includes the word “summer” in the title. My rankings will be based on a combination of perceived quality of work and pop culture significance, but mostly just my personal taste level both then and now (which admittedly can change daily). Let’s enjoy the hot sun, some cold drinks and the TOP SONGS OF THE ’80s WITH “SUMMER” IN THE TITLE:
10. “Wild Summer Nights” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (1983) – Featured on the soundtrack to Eddie and the Cruisers
9. “Summer of Love” by The B-52’s (1986) – Peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot Dance chart and then was later featured in the 1988 film Earth Girls Are Easy
8. “Our Last Summer” by ABBA (1980) – Included on the band’s Super Trouper album that year and later sung by Harry and Donna in the musical Mamma Mia!
7. “Summer’s Here” by James Taylor (1981) – Included on his Dad Loves His Work album, it peaked at #25 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart
6. “Summer Nights” by Van Halen (1986) – Included on their 5150 album, it peaked at #33 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart
5. “Suddenly Last Summer” by The Motels (1983) – A great under-rated gem from the early ’80s, it peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1983
4. “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx (1988) – The third single released from his self-titled debut album, it peaked at #2 and thus also ranks on another list as well
3. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama (1983) – Originally released in June 1983, it was included on their 1984 self-titled album and also featured in the film The Karate Kid which helped it peak at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year
2. “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley (1984) – The lead single from his second solo album Building the Perfect Beast, it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and its music video won several MTV VMA’s including Video of the Year
1. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams (1985) – The fourth single released from his Reckless album in June, it surprisingly only peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August and you can find out more about the song’s meaning in our interview with co-writer Jim Vallance
There’s my list. As usual and as I mentioned earlier, these are based on my personal preferences and the order could very well change a little depending on my mood or nostalgia on a given day. Are there any songs from the ’80s that you feel I have overlooked? If so or if you’d rank any differently, please leave them in the comments section below. There is a Henry David Thoreau quote that goes, “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” These songs with Summer in the title can help us do just that any time of year.