R-2771333-1300305645.jpeg#14 – Peter and Gordon – “A World Without Love” – (1964)

Peter (Asher) and Gordon (Waller) were a duo from Britain and they released this #1 hit as their first single in early 1964. Does it sound like it was written in a somewhat familiar style? Well if it does, maybe that’s because it was written by Paul McCartney at the height of Beatlemania.

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R-2883539-1364799570-9512.jpeg#15 – Wayne Newton – “Danke Schoen” – (1963)

Immortalized by Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Danke Schoen” is Wayne Newton’s signature song. It was originally recorded by Bert Kaempfert as an instrumental under a different title. In case you were wondering, like I always have, Wayne Newton was 21 years old when he recorded this song.

The_Animals_(American_album)#16 – The Animals – “The House of the Rising Sun” – (1964)

First off, I didn’t realize that The Animals were actually British. Maybe it’s because their signature song is an original take on an American folk song about New Orleans. In fact, it’s such a folksy song that the credited writer is “Traditional” – meaning it’s so old no one gets credit for it. It hit #1 and is sort of thought to be the first folk-rock smash hit. 

51QlIRrWf3L#17 – The Four Seasons – “Rag Doll” – (1964)

Not many things are better than songs by the Four Seasons. This #1 hit is one of their best and it would be their last #1 hit until their comeback in 1975. The pacing and tempo of the song is very similar (I think) to “Walk Like a Man.” 

220px-At_the_Whisky_à_Go_Go_cover#18 – Johnny Rivers – “Memphis” – (1964)

The song “Memphis” was originally written and recorded by Chuck Berry in 1959. Johnny Rivers did a live version of it – which was really his own take on it – in 1964 and this version made it to #2 in the U.S. After this, Chuck Berry’s live versions of the song resembled this version more than the original, which says something about how good this version is.

220px-downtown_warner_bros#19 – Petula Clark – “Downtown” – (1965)

Just like #20, this was released as a single in ’64 with the album following the next year. This #1 hit means we are finally into “Oldies” territory! When was the last time you heard this on the radio? I can only find it on AM stations, which is kind of sad. We’ll continue to lament the death of true oldies radio throughout the remainder of the years we run through.

220px-begin_here_decca#20 – The Zombies – “She’s Not There” – (1965)

Released as a single in mid-1964 (the album came out in early 1965), “She’s Not There” is among the catchiest songs from The Zombies. “Time of the Season” gets all the love but this song was a #2 hit in the U.S. It’s good stuff – before all of the psychedelia took over.

bob_dylan_-_the_times_they_are_a-changin#21 – Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are a-Changin'” – (1964)

In 1964 the times certainly were a-changin’. Socially, politically – and musically. If you look at the lists we’ve done from 1965 through 1969, the songs were heavier, more politically charged. But this song was sort of the turning point. Everything from here back is just… simpler. Compare #1-20 in 1964 to 1966 and you’ll likely notice a big difference in tone.

Despacito_by_Luis_Fonsi.jpegLuis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee – “Despacito” – (2017)

Always love Latin music in the summer. Puerto Rico brings us this track and it was an instant hit on the Latin chart. But, more recently, Justin Bieber released a remix of it (which, admittedly I don’t think I’ve heard) that jumped into the top 10 on the Hot 100. Between the two versions, this song has hit #1 in many countries all over the world.

artworks-000204286114-6i1cxp-t500x500Sander van Doorn & LVNDSCAPE – “Need To Feel Loved” – (2017)

I feel liker Sander van Doorn (who is obviously Dutch) has dropped more singles in the past seven years than about another other DJ. This one features a great sound, thanks in no small part to LVNDSCAPE, whose work I’ve featured before.

Show_You_Love_(KATO_and_Sigala_song)Kato & Sigala feat Hailee Steinfeld – “Show You Love” – (2017)

Kato is a DJ from Denmark and Sigala is a DJ from the U.K. And Hailee Steinfeld is an American actress who sings some too. This song, which was released in February, charted in the U.K. and Ireland and features the sound we look for in summer songs.

artworks-000190014213-pug81q-t500x500Nora En Pure feat. Dani Senior – “Tell My Heart” – (2016)

Well, we saved the best for last (unless I throw another week in of this next week to try and capture some songs released in 2017). Nora En Pure (real name, Daniela Niederer) is a South Africa/Swiss DJ and her stuff is pretty good. This deep house track is cool, smooth, and matched with soothing vocals. The perfect song for summer.

kendji-by-kendji-giracKendji Girac – “Andalouse” – (2014)

I think anything with 213 million views on YouTube qualifies as a “hit.” This was the second single from Kendji Girac and it’s sung in French with Spanish thrown in here and there. It was a top five hit in France, Greece, and Belgium. Even if you don’t know what he’s saying, you know it’s catchy as hell.

600x600bbDVBBS & CMC$ feat. Gia Koka – “Not Going Home” – (2016)

DVBBS is an electronic duo from Ontario. This song was their second biggest hit in their native Canada – and it was also a radio hit in the Netherlands. The vocals are good and the beat isn’t overpowering – there’s not reason it shouldn’t have been a hit.

screenhunter_916-feb-28-18-35Cherokee – “Take Care of You” – (2011)

Here’s a bit of a throwback. It just sounds like summer. It’s got a great R&B vibe – thanks mostly to the fact that it samples George Benson. Most house music from 2011 already sounds out of date – but I have a feeling this one will endure. It’s just too smooth.

artworks-000124861296-s21ron-t500x500Boiler x Lvndscape – “Ragga” – (2015)

We’ve discussed the shelf life if electronica and how it is relatively short. This is a song that will likely feel quite dated in about two years – especially the beginning. It you can make it to the one minute mark, it picks up a very chill vibe that carries through most of the rest of the song.

bloodsweat3yearsCash Cash and Digital Farm Animals feat. Nelly – “Millionaire” – (2016)

This song deserved to be a hit. It combines the new thing: radio-friendly electronica – with something great: Nelly. Any song that can get Nelly to quote one of his most famous lines is worth listening to. Cash Cash is an American electronic group and Digital Farm Animals is the name of a British DJ. And you obviously know Nelly… it’s a great combo.

homepage_large-4d7c4e3fBomba Estereo – “Soy Yo” – (2015)

Colombian band Bomba Estereo pulled a brilliant move to get this album big attention: get Will Smith to rap on your lead single. This song was used in a FIFA video game and has (obviously) a great Latin flair. Most of the songs featured for the summer are one-off singles, but here’s one that’s actually from a full album – a Grammy-nominated one at that!

imaAaron Smith feat. Luvli – “Dancin’ (KRONO Remix)” – (2013)

This song actually came out in 2005 and there was a remixed version of it at the time that was the popular version. This is a new (okay, four years old… so… newer) remix. Even though the remix is more modern than the track itself, you can still tell it was written more than a decade ago. Electronica does not have a long shelf life.

artworks-000150524350-s0nj93-originalLost Kings – “Something Good” – (2016)

To be fair, our Songs for Summer list each year is usually dominated by European acts, or at least it has been for a while. But the Lost Kings are an American DJ duo from L.A. and this song is extremely catchy and has the exact feel we are looking for when we assemble this list.

32054256_800_800Mahmut Orhan feat. Sena Sener – “Feel” – (2016)

Turkish DJ Mahmut Orhan manages to combine some traditional Turkish sounds into this smooth track. Vocals are by fellow Turk Sena Sener and the overall sound was good enough that this became a top ten hit in a few Eastern European countries such as Poland, Greece, Romania, Ukraine, and even Kazakhstan. The Kazakh music chart has to be an interesting list.

cs3062229-02a-bigStelartronic & Anduze – “Press My Luck” – (2016)

This has a more atmospheric feel to it than most of the stuff we’re “featuring for summer.” Stelartronic is a duo fronted by the man also known as Parov Stelar, the electro-swing king. The vocals come from American singer Anduze

cover600x600Imany – “Don’t Be So Shy (Filatov & Karas Remix)” – (2015)

Imany is a French singer and she released this song in late 2015. But it was the Filatov & Karas Remix that garnered all of the attention. The remix went to #1 in a number of European countries, including Slovenia, Serbia, Russia, Romania, Poland, Germany, France, Bulgaria, and Austria.

artworks-000124711578-17mdft-t500x500Tieks feat. Dan Harkna – “Sunshine” – (2016)

Well if an album cover ever said “Summer” I think this one would be it. Not only is the song catchy and well-sung, it’s actually about summer’s best quality (other than warmth): sunshine. Oh, and the singing sounds like something from the 90s, which is awesome.

33870237_350_350Manuel Riva & Eneli – “Mhm Mhm” – (2016)

“Mhm Mhm” starts off kind of slow and with more lyrical creativity than its title. But then it sort of descends into what I can only describe as glorified humming. The video was shot in Venice. Where I was last summer. And I want to be back.