Here Is Every “Song of the Summer” for the Past 50 Years
No matter the weather, these songs are sure to bring the sunshine.
Every year, as the weather gets warmer, a brand new single comes out that you can’t stop hearing everywhere you go. While it remains to be seem which song will earn the coveted title of Song of the Summer in 2018, we’ve rounded up the 50 songs that have turned the heat up all summer for the past half-century. And for more musical fun, check out the 40 Most Hilarious Song Titles!
“Hello, I Love You” — The Doors
In 1968, the summer anthem was “Hello, I Love You” by The Doors. Not only did the song sell over a million copies in the US, it also reached number one on the charts in Canada and was the band’s first hit in the UK. And if you think the song’s title is pretty smooth, check out 50 Pick-Up Lines So Bad They Just Might Work.
“In the Year 2525” — Zager and Evans
“In the Year 2525” hit the charts and held the top spot for six weeks, starting July 12, 1969. The song is about an apocalyptic future in which all of humanity is wiped from the planet, which is pretty depressing. Luckily, when you want to brighten up your mood, the 20 Genius Ways to Instantly Cheer Yourself Up will do the trick.
“(They Long to Be) Close to You” — The Carpenters
This song, which was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, had several iterations before The Carpenters recorded it. Released in 1970, it became their first big hit and stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks. It was sung by Karen Carpenter, who is remembered for her angelic voice, but was also an incredible drummer, beating Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham in Playboy‘s list of the best rock drummers. And for more info on your favorite celebs, check out 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
“Mr. Big Stuff” — Jean Knight
In 1971, the song “Mr. Big Stuff” became Jean Knight’s first big hit off her debut album of the same name. The song is about a guy who thinks he’s a hot shot, which earns him the old-timey nickname Mr. Big Stuff. And to discover more long-forgotten lingo from the ’70s, check out 20 Slang Terms From the 1970s No One Uses Anymore.
“Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” — Looking Glass
Nobody in 1972 could resist the smooth sound of “Brandy” by Looking Glass. An urban legend has it that the song was written about a New Jersey spinster named Mary Ellis, who lived from 1750 to 1823, but the songwriter says that isn’t true. And for more myths that could stand a good fact-check, check out The 28 Most Enduring Myths in American History.
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” — Jim Croce
This Jim Croce song was a major pop hit in 1973, his last before he died in a tragic plane crash. If he had lived, he would be 78 today. And for more on famous people whose time came too soon, learn How Old These 50 Celebrity Icons Would Be if They Were Alive Today.
“Band on the Run” — Wings
After The Beatles split, Paul McCartney went on to form the band Wings, and their song “Band on the Run” became the song of the summer in 1974. And for lesser-known trivia about McCartney, check out 20 Insanely Fast Cars You’ll Find in A-Listers’ Garages.
“Love Will Keep Us Together” — Captain and Tennille
This song, originally written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, launched Captain and Tennille to the top of the charts in 1975. Love might have kept the Captain and Tennille together, but if you want more romance tips from the famous, check out The 30 Best Celebrity Relationship Quotes.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” — Elton John and Kiki Dee
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was a one-off track recorded by Elton John that became the song of the summer in 1976. The song was re-released in 1994, but for that recording, Kiki Dee was replaced by RuPaul. And for more from America’s favorite drag queen, check out The 30 Funniest Reality Show Catchphrases of All Time.
“Best of My Love” — The Emotions
The Emotions managed to land the summer anthem of 1977 with their hit “Best of My Love.” It’s a disco tune that is still used in dance competitions today. But the exercise you get from disco dancing isn’t the only way music like this is good for you. Find out How Music Helps You Burn More Calories.
“Shadow Dancing” — Andy Gibb
The song of the summer in 1978 was written by Andy Gibb and his brothers in the Bee Gees while they were working on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band movie. It stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks.
“Bad Girls” — Donna Summer
The Donna Summer song “Bad Girls,” from the album of the same name, was, without a doubt, summer’s biggest jam in 1979. It was produced by Giorgio Moroder, who also wrote the theme song for The NeverEnding Story.
“It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” — Billy Joel
The 1980 summer anthem was “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” a surprisingly demure summer hit. The song. which was written by Joel himself, was released on his album Glass Houses.
“Jessie’s Girl” — Rick Springfield
“Jessie’s Girl,” a song about lusting after a friend’s girlfriend, spent months climbing up the charts in 1981, finally landing in the top spot on August 1st.
“Eye of the Tiger” — Survivor
The theme to the film Rocky III was also the song of the summer in 1982, and has since been used in countless TV shows, movies, and advertisements, becoming iconic pump-up music in the process.
“Every Breath You Take” — The Police
In 1983, the Police released “Every Breath You Take,” which quickly became a major hit that summer. However, while this track seems romantic at first listen, it’s is actually about somebody scarily obsessed with their ex.
“When Doves Cry” — Prince
In 1984, “When Doves Cry” off the Purple Rain soundtrack was the summer anthem. It was Prince’s first number one American single.
“Shout” — Tears for Fears
“Shout” was released by Tears for Fears in the UK in 1984, but it really took off after its 1985 release in the US. It was the number one song for three weeks that summer.
“Nasty” — Janet Jackson
The eminently-danceable second single released off Janet Jackson’s 1986 album Control has won multiple awards and is still considered one of Jackson’s signature songs today.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” — Whitney Houston
In addition to being the 1987 song of the summer, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was also Whitney Houston’s fourth consecutive #1 hit.
“Faith” — George Michael
Not only was “Faith” the 1988 summer anthem, it was also the song of the year, according to Billboard.
“Love Shack” — The B-52s
“Love Shack” was a comeback song for fans of The B-52s, and a huge breakthrough for people who had never heard of them before. It was the soundtrack to the summer of 1989 and remains The B-52s’ most popular song to this day.
“U Can’t Touch This” — MC Hammer
“U Can’t Touch This” was all over the airwaves in the summer of 1990. It was also the first rap song to be nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammys.
“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” — Bryan Adams
There was no avoiding this song from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack in 1991. It spent 16 weeks at the top of the UK Singles chart, the longest run in British chart history.
“Baby Got Back” — Sir Mix-A-Lot
Sir Mix-A-Lot exploded onto the scene in 1992 with his hit song “Baby Got Back,” which has since been sampled by Nikki Minaj and is the inspiration for the slang term “Becky.”
“Whoomp! (There It Is) — Tag Team
In 1993, Tag Team released the summer anthem “Whoomp! (There It Is).” It has since appeared on multiple best and worst of all time lists.
“The Sign” — Ace of Base
“The Sign” by Ace of Base spent six non-consecutive weeks on the charts in the US in 1994, where their album was also called The Sign. In other parts of the world, the album was named Happy Nation.
“Waterfalls” — TLC
In 1995, TLC found themselves with an unlikely summer jam on their hands, courtesy of “Waterfalls,” released in the US in May of that year. Thanks to the catchy chorus, many fans failed to realize that the song was actually about HIV and drug dealing. However, the song’s strong social message clearly struck a chord, nabbing it two Grammy nominations and earning it the number 10 spot on Billboard’s list of the 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
“Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” — Los Del Rio
In 1996, one hit wonders Los Del Rio released the song of the summer, “Macarena.” The song continues to be popular at weddings or any place else you might find people shameless enough to do the accompanying dance.
“I’ll Be Missing You” — Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112
This song was released in 1997 as a tribute to Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, who was murdered earlier that year. The song sampled 1983 summer anthem “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
“The Boy Is Mine” — Brandy & Monica
This summer anthem from 1998, about two women fighting over the same man, was a duet inspired by a Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney duet from 1982 called “The Girl Is Mine.”
“Genie in a Bottle” — Christina Aguilera
“Genie in a Bottle,” the 1999 song of the summer, is from Christina Aguilera’s debut album, which went platinum and helped place her on the pop music map.
“Bye Bye Bye” — NSYNC
Boy bands were still all the rage in 2000, when NSYNC had the song of the summer with their track “Bye Bye Bye.”
“Lady Marmalade” — Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & P!nk
Christina Aguilera, alongside Lil’ Kim, Mya, and P!nk, came back to nab another summer anthem in 2001 with a cover the of the Labelle classic “Lady Marmalade” for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
“Hot in Herre” — Nelly
The 2002 song of the summer was Nelly’s “Hot in Herre,” which went on to win a Grammy for Best Male Rap Solo Performance.
“Crazy in Love” — Beyoncé
You couldn’t go anywhere in the summer of 2003 without hearing “Crazy In Love,” the hit single off Beyoncé’s debut solo album.
“Yeah!” — Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris
“Yeah!,” the 2004 song of the summer, held the top spot on the Billboard top 100 until it was bumped off by another single by Usher.
“We Belong Together” — Mariah Carey
The 2005 song of the summer, “We Belong Together,” from Mariah Carey’s album The Emancipation of Mimi was considered by many to be her musical comeback. It was the second longest running number one song in US chart history.
“Promiscuous” — Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado switched things up after her hit poppy “I’m Like a Bird” with this hip-hop-inspired song featuring Timbaland. With her infectious vocals and the song’s catchy beats, “Promiscuous” quickly became the 2006 summer jam.
“Umbrella”— Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
The 2007 song of the summer was Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” which eventually won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
“I Kissed a Girl” — Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s controversial hit, “I Kissed a Girl,” held the top spot on the charts for seven weeks in 2008, and has sold over 4 million copies since.
“I Gotta Feeling” — Black Eyed Peas
The 2009 song of the summer, “I Gotta Feeling,” was number two on the charts when it was released, right behind another Black Eyed Peas song, “Boom Boom Pow.”
“California Girls” — Katy Perry
In 2010 Katy Perry bounced back and gave us another summer jam with her song catchy “California Girls.” The song is an answer to the East Coast track “Empire State of Mind.”
“Party Rock Anthem” — LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock
The 2011 song of the summer, “Party Rock Anthem” was released in January, but stayed on the charts for a mind-boggling 68 weeks.
“Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen released summer anthem “Call Me Maybe” in 2012. The song has since prompted countless parodies, including one famous video in which Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, and other celebs lip-sync the song.
“Blurred Lines” — Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke’s problematic song “Blurred Lines” was the song of the summer in 2013, before outrage over the song’s offensive lyrics—and a lawsuit on behalf of Marvin Gaye’s estate—derailed its success.
“Fancy” — Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea burst onto the charts in 2014 with her song “Fancy.” While she’s tried to recapture the magic of this peppy track, “Fancy” remains her biggest hit to this day.
“Bad Blood” — Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
The 2015 song of the summer came from Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, thanks in no small part to the very hyped-up music video that accompanied the tune.
“One Dance” — Drake featuring WizKid and Kyla
In addition to being the 2016 song of the summer, “One Dance” also carries the distinction of being the most listened to song on Spotify.
“Bodak Yellow” — Cardi B
There’s no room for doubt that “Bodak Yellow” was the 2017 song of the summer. The song launched Cardi B to stardom, and went platinum five times in the US. For more info about the songs you love, check out the 30 Funniest Jokes in Popular Songs.
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