Summer top 10

Our pick of ten summer tunes

It would be rude not to listen to music outdoors – especially in summer. So we have put together a collection of ten timeless classics to add some extra panache to your get-togethers. Whether your tastes include Springsteen, Nina Simone or Kendrick Lamar, there is something here for you on this holiday mixtape.

And here’s the good bit – they all sound superb too, whether you are listening on your wireless speaker, in your car or even at home on your Hi-Fi.

1. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
P-funk, G-funk – this is pure musical brilliance. Flawlessly constructed, tight bass, loose playing, fierce vocals, and a serious summer vibe.

2. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
A very different LA vibe this, but a classic tune for a feel-good summer. Preferably while driving around California in a low-slung convertible, but we’ll listen to it anywhere.

3. Waitin’ on a Sunny Day – Bruce Springsteen
The Boss is in full on pop mode with this lighter moment from the excellent The Rising. Going to see him live usually involves him dragging some precocious toddler up on stage to help with the chorus, but don’t let that turn you off the album version.

4. California Dreaming – The Mamas & Papas
An absolute classic from the summer of love, and a song guaranteed to populate your mind with thoughts of summer. And those harmonies! They obviously taught Fleet Foxes everything they know.

5. Feeling Good – Nina Simone
There’s something special conjured up in the opening of this song. New beginnings, fresh hope. And while it may not strictly be about ‘summer’, we can’t help imaging this ‘new dawn’ coming to life on a blisteringly warm summer day.

6. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
A summer song with a hint of danger and protest. What better soundtrack for California in the late 60s could there be? The heady blend of Stephen Stills and Neil Young was too fractious to last in this early partnership, but the results were incredible.

7. Girls and Boys– BlurGirls and Boys– Blur
There was a time back in the 90s where Britain was THE place to be in the summer. The Britpop-inspired second (or was it third?) summer of love was more lager and tracksuits than pot and kaftans, but sound-tracked by the likes of this Blur classic plenty of fun was to be had.

8. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
The thrill of school being over and summer starting is one of those childhood memories that stays with you. The promise of endless summer stretching ahead, and in the case of Alice Cooper, mischief, lots of mischief.

9. Days – Kirsty MacColl
Ray Davis has written so many beautiful songs that could fit the bill of summer classics – Sunny Afternoon for starters – but it is this fantastic cover of Days by the late, great Kirsty MacCool that gets our vote.

10. Bill Withers – Lovely Day
The perfect summer bookend with the equally magnificent Ain’t No Sunshine, this timeless slice of Bill Withers magic fills us with hope and expectation. And, as an added bonus it still sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded.

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