From Miley Cyrus to the Rolling Stones, Daft Punk to Don Henley, soak up the fun.
If there’s one season that’s synonymous with joy, it’s summer. Endless sunny days, warm nights, refreshing foods and plenty of pool or beach time—the mere mention of the season is likely to trigger memories of summers past or daydreams of vacations to come. And what other season inspires its own soundtrack? To compile a list of the Top 10 Summer Anthems, we asked our staff to name their favorite hot-weather tunes and, true to form for our diverse team, the finalists range from the heaviest metal to the poppiest pop, from the 1970s to the 20-teens. Let the countdown begin!
10. “Epic” by Faith No More
With its driving beat, “Epic,” is the perfect song to listen to while soaking in the summer heat or cruising down a New York City street. “It’s so cool, it’s so hip, it’s alright, it’s so groovy, it’s outta sight, you can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet, But it makes no difference ‘cuz it knocks you off of your feet.”
9. “Summer” by War
“Summer time is here, yes, it’s summer, my time of year.” The chorus of “Summer” by War pretty much sums it up. The song’s laid-back vibe makes it the perfect tune for watching sunsets, swinging on a tire swing or sitting on the deck, sipping something sweet.
8. “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus
Summer is a time when anything can happen, right? Everyone’s in a good mood, ready to let loose, relax, and, well, party (in the USA.) Cyrus’ tune may not mention summer, but it is definitely an anthem and a metaphor for what summer really is: a time to throw the worries and stress of the year to the wind and chill. “I throw my hands up, they’re playing my song, I know I’m gonna be okay. Yeah, it’s a party in the USA.”
7. “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior
“Move Your Feet” is just a great song. Honestly, you could listen to it any time of the year, but every second just oozes happiness and isn’t that what summer is all about? How can you listen to this and not want to get up and dance? It’s perfect for those days when you get out of work and know that the fun has just begun.
6. “Summer Song” by Joe Satriani
“Summer Song” by Joe Satriani has the power to immediately bring you to a summer of yesteryear. With no lyrics, “Summer Song” is extremely flexible, allowing anyone to place it among whichever memory, activity or mood they choose.
5. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” by the Rolling Stones
“Sticky Fingers” was released in April of 1971—perfect timing to become a quintessential American summer classic. Though the album is full of great, iconic songs like “Wild Horses,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is one of those songs that you can just jam out to on long summer road trips. It’s upbeat, catchy and perfect for letting the wind run through your head.
4. “Soak Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crowe
This is the ultimate driving-to-the-beach jam: pulling off the highway, smelling the salt air and feeling your feet hit the warm sand. It’s bliss. A quintessential early 2000s summer go-to.
3. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell
“We’re up all night for good fun,” preaches Pharell. An ode to the disco era of the ’70s, “Get Lucky” gets everyone in the groove. It’s perfect for a long drive and it’s a fantastic dance party song.
2. “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley
A classic. A true pure, classic summer anthem. So much so that when you search for “The Boys of Summer” on YouTube, you’ll be inundated with covers and instrumental versions, all odes to a cherished tune.
1. “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac
“Go Your Own Way” is a true pick-me-up, I-can-do-anything song. Though some may not initially associate the track with summer, “Go Your Own Way” isn’t a song you listen to when it’s 20 degrees below freezing and you’re sitting in a ski lodge sipping hot chocolate. It’s a song you jam out to on trips to the beach, while you’re walking through midtown Manhattan when the sun is shining through empty summer side streets and while your kids are catching fireflies in jars in the backyard. It’s summer, pure and simple.