Top Five Summer Beach Songs

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Paul said that debating a replacement song for the national anthem might be a good topic, and we might get to that later. For now, I’ll go with something a little lighter. Here are two photos from my family’s beach week at Isle of Palms. We’ve been enjoying the beach, bike riding, great food, and summer ease. Above is a picture of my daughter enjoying perhaps the best chocolate milk ever, and below that is the view of the IOP beach.

We’ve also been giving our kids a tutorial in some of our favorite music. In keeping with summer here are my top five (High Fidelity Style, of course) summer beach songs:

  1. Under the Boardwalk (The Drifters)
  2. Surfin’ USA (The Beach Boys)
  3. Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses)
  4. Night Moves (Bob Seger)
  5. One Love (Bob Marley)

What are some other songs you associate with summertime and the beach?

26 thoughts on “Top Five Summer Beach Songs

  1. Doug T

    1. Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love) Greenwood’s own Swingin Medallions
    2. Louie Louie (The Kingsmen)
    3. Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
    4. In the Summer Time (Mungo Jerry)
    5. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran)

    Anyone who leaves out Double Shot can leave our great state now. Here’s a quote about the song from Lewis Grizzard, which reminded me how much I really miss Lewis Grizzard.

    “Even today, when I hear the Swingin’ Medallions sing “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love, ” it makes me want to stand outside in the hot sun with a milkshake cup full of beer in one hand and a slightly-drenched nineteen-year-old coed in the other.”

    1. Bryan Caskey Post author

      Those are good selections, especially the first three. Also, Lewis Grizzard was a national treasure.

  2. Bryan Caskey Post author

    I have to say, Up on the Roof is one of my favorite songs ever, but I didn’t want to list two songs by The Drifters in the same list.

  3. Paul V DeMarco

    We spent the week before July 4th at Litchfield Beach and had a great time. He’s my soundtrack:
    1. Good Vibrations-Beach Boys
    2. Miss Grace-The Tymes
    3. Soak Up The Sun-Sheryl Crow
    4. Carolina Girls- General Johnson and the Chairman of the Board
    5. I Love Beach Music-The Embers

  4. Dave Crockett

    I don’t have five additional…but I will add, somewhere in the list,
    These Eyes-The Guess Who

  5. Brad Warthen

    Thanks for posting, Bryan. I actually had the germ of an idea today for a Top Five list, but one that’s been posted is better than one that is not, even if this one has Guns N’ Roses on it.

    I had an idea for another you would like. About baseball! Maybe I can post it late tonight if I don’t run out of prednisone-fueled steam. Kerouac used bennies, I use prednisone. Not intentionally for this, though.

    First I’ve got to run do some more work. I couldn’t do a lick of it yesterday, so I’m trying to get it done today/tonight while I’m pumped. I woke up with a fever Friday morning after being up with asthma and the most violent shaking chills I’ve ever experienced.

    But I’m much better now…

  6. Brad Warthen

    OK, here’s my Top Five Songs That Are More or Less About Summer and/or the Beach that have not been previously mentioned, in no particular order:

    Wipe Out, The Surfaris
    Summer Wind, Sinatra
    Island in the Sun, Weezer
    Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone
    Sunny Afternoon, The Kinks

    I was going to include Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime,” but Doug T beat me to it. So I tossed in The Kinks.

    I’m proud of Summer Wind. It’s not the Beach Boys, or even Jan and Dean, but it’s awesome.

    Let’s listen to it:

  7. Norm Ivey

    I didn’t grow up near a beach, so summer songs are not necessarily beach songs. These are five songs that have a summer feel for me. It could be much longer.

    1. Rock Me Gently (Andy Kim)
    2. One Toke Over the Line (Brewer and Shipley)
    3. Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet)
    4. Southern Nights (Glen Campbell)
    5. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)

    1. Brad Warthen

      Oh, those are way more summery than what I tend to think of as “summer songs.” For me, the songs I think of when you say “summer” and “beach” tend to be whatever was on the radio most at a time when I was at the beach.

      For instance, I distinctly remember my top three songs of the summer of 1965 — which as I’ve written over an over again, was probably the most awesome summer of my life, when measured simply by pop culture. This was because it was when I returned from having been largely sealed off from that culture for two-and-a-half years down in Ecuador. They were:

      “It’s Not Unusual,” Tom Jones
      “Green Grass,” Garry Lewis and the Playboys
      “I Am A Rock,” Simon and Garfunkel

      No, wait. Something smelled off about that memory so I went and checked. I’m more likely to have heard Green Grass and I Am a Rock in 1966. So I didn’t remember it very “distinctly” at all, at least not at first blush.

      Yes, yes! I remember now! Those two and “Li’l Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sam and the Pharaohs were the top three of 1966. I remember going out and buying all three 45s at the end of that summer, probably at Woolco in New Orleans.

      So what accompanied Tom Jones? Probably “Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops, and yes, Herman Hermits’ cover of the old British music hall tune, “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am.” (Actually, I’m sure about “Can’t Help Myself” the more I think about it. Less sure about Henery.)

      Hey, I was a kid. I was such a kid I couldn’t afford entire Top Five Lists yet, so gimme a break…

      Notice that I always tossed in a novelty song. I like to share a bit of fun. Even if I gave you top songs of the summer of 1971 — when I was graduating from high school and taking music VERY seriously — I’d have to include “Chick-a-Boom”…

      1. Doug T

        Summer of ’65 my mom drove us to Calif to see her brother and family. 2 songs we must have heard a hundred times:

        What’s New Pussycat: Tom Jones
        Satisfaction: Rolling Stones

        Must have heard a couple of Four Tops’ tunes because when we returned home I saved my grass cutting money to buy their album.

        1. Brad Warthen

          The Four Tops were at their peak.

          As awesome as I’ve always considered Satisfaction to be, it doesn’t figure that prominently in my memories of that summer. Maybe SC radio stations weren’t playing it the way they did the Four Tops and Tom Jones….


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