Great Songs of Summers Past: What Are Your Favorites?

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It's officially summer – and summer is all about having fun. Every summer there’s a song that will forever mean hot weather, cold drinks, cool pools and the smell of coco-nutty suntan lotion. Here are some of my favorite summer songs – the ones that will always sound like summer to me.

The Hues Corporation – Rock the Boat
The summer of 1974 – I was 12 years old, and on the brink of, well, everything. This song was on the radio every 15 minutes, and disco was on it’s way to the front and center of the decade. My little clock radio played all day long.

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Elton John and Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
The summer of 1976 – I was 14. my family moved across the country to California, and one of the only things that was familiar and comforting to me was my music. Elton and Kiki were friendly voices.

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John Travolta and Olivia Newton John – You’re the One That I Want
The summer of 1978 – I was 16. Grease was huge. Enormous. Everywhere. I even saw it at a drive-in. It was the summer of driving, the beach, bikinis, parties, boys, boys, boys!

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Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark
The summer of 1984 – I was 22. College grad takes on the world. Big hair, big shoulder pads, big dreams. Courtney Cox dancing on stage with the Boss. And now my daughter is 22. Wow.

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Wilson Phillips – Hold On
The summer of 1990 – I was 28, and a new mom. This song played a lot as I drove around in my new minivan with my baby girl. There were moments when the lyrics were pretty meaningful – “hold on for one more day.” Some days, having a little baby wasn’t easy, but I held on – and as they said, “things will go your way,” which they did.

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Los Del Rio – La Macarena
The summer of 1996 - one of the best summers of my life. My kids were 6 and 4, we swam and grilled and played every day. Our friends were (and still are) the greatest, and the children all ran and jumped and laughed and cried in one big massive group of cuteness. We did the Macarena far too many times to admit.

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Beyonce’ and Jay-Z – Crazy in Love
The summer of 2003 – I was driving around 13 year old girls – a lot. They looovvveeed this song. At first it bothered me…something about the off-beat. But soon I loved it as much as they did, and I still do.

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The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
The summer of 2009 – What a great, feel good anthem. This song just makes me happy every time I hear it. And even though flash mobs are ho-hum now, I remember how exciting it was watching the enormous group on “Oprah” in September of 2009.

So, what will the indelible song of this summer be? Whatever it is, you can bet that somewhere, there’ll be couples making out to it, people dancing to it, and years from now, someone will hear it, get a whiff of coconut scented sunscreen, and remember the warm sun of good old 2012.  What are your favorite songs of summer?

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