Wherever you go on holiday or business, the leisure time that we can score away from our normal routine is the most precious jewel of any trip, summer or winter alike.
And nothing enhances a mood, or captures it so perfectly, as hearing a certain song at exactly the right moment.
Few things are more deeply impactful than when a half forgotten melody creeps up on you and mugs you, just as you’re savouring a spectacular sunset and some wonderfully chilled wine. When it comes out of left field like that, the result can be a moment that sears itself into your memory just as surely as if you’ve been branded. Music as balm for the senses.
You don’t have to be Kojak- or even Clouseau- to figure out that music and chilling out go hand in hand as the perfect summer pairing. And, with that in mind, here- in no particular order- are some of the songs that will be prolonging the sound of summer for me this year on my travels. Grab a drink, find a hammock, and just go with the flow….
The Monkees: Daydream Believer- The true, authentic sound of summer. Ironically, it was released over the winter of 67-68. That small, perfect little piano at the start, and Davy Jones’ wispy, effortless vocals float over this like a butterfly in a meadow.
Isley Brothers: Summer Breeze- Chris Jasper’s guitar takes you off on a fantastic voyage all it’s own, while Ronnie Isley’s vocals are as deep and rich as warm chocolate. You can almost hear the crickets chirping…
The Young Rascals: Groovin’- It’s got the most languid and seductive harmonica pieces ever. Huckleberry Finn down by the creek stuff. Like floating down a lazy river…
Martha and The Vandellas: Heat Wave- Simply a joyous, colossal belter. A romping combo of vintage Motown with some samba stirred in, and Martha’s vocals could make a wooden dog jump. Just magical and uplifting.
Haircut 100: Love Plus One- From the first guitar riff to the sultry, lilting, swinging clarinets, it’s as refreshing as Zinfandel at dusk, and just as satisfying. Feels lush and rich even three decades later.
The Lovin’ Spoonful/John Sebastian: Daydream/Welcome Back- Two songs, one singer. Welcome Back always sounded- deliberately- like the second part of Daydream, recorded a decade later. Both are light as air hymns to the languid indolence of lazy summer days; side stepping the nine-to-five to go sit with our feet in the lake. And, even if we won’t actually do that, it feels good to think of how much fun it would be if we did. Equally timeless, and both graced with easy, devil may care, harmonica fuelled goodness.
Michael Buble ft. Nelly Furtado: Quando, Quando, Quando- So finely balanced and wispy; a perfect ‘twilight on the terrace’ song. Just add a finely crafted Martini of your choice for pure, platinum chip pleasure. Buble’s warm, effortless voice is as smooth as cashmere. Languid, lovely and graceful.
Stevie Wonder: My Cherie Amour- Summer without Stevie is like Paris without patissieres; utterly unthinkable. My Cherie Amour is as wistful as late autumn sun falling on a beachside promenade. The backing track alone is a languid, love lorn banquet. Just beautiful.
The First Class: Beach Baby- Starts as it means to go on; a class ten roller of thumping drums, a racing baseline and a brass section blowing up a summer storm. It’s the LA beach scene in a five minute homage. Lost youth dressed up in an exuberant vibe of endless summer. Magnificent, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face whenever you hear it.
The Supremes: You Can’t Hurry Love- Only the Beatles outsold the Supremes in the 1960’s worldwide, and here’s why. The base intro alone is one of the most copied in musical history, the background vocals are razor sharp and strident, and Miss Ross is at her absolute best here, threading her way through a preppy, infectious pop staple like a surfer riding waves. Arguably the best of their twelve American number ones.
So, there you have it. Ten of the best. Each of these songs is like an emotional lightning rod, re-connecting you to a whole host of memories, even as they form a timeless backdrop to a whole series of fresh holiday fun times.
So, what are the songs that make YOUR summer holiday run as perfectly as a Rolls-Royce? Tell you what- I’d love to know…..