Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.
Hi everyone, it’s Retro Dee here to start your Summer off with a few great tunes from yesteryear.
Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but it’s not too early to get your Summer Playlist ready with some great songs from The Malt Shop Era.
The 1950’s and early 1960’s had some fab summer songs. These are the kinds of songs that you can imagine listening to at a retro-beach party, or maybe sitting on a porch swing on a warm evening with your sweetie. Then there are some that might remind you of cruising down the street in a ’57 Chevy convertible… but whatever comes to mind, it’s no doubt that Summer in the Old Days was a special time: Carefree, easy, breezy and a little bit romantic.
These songs have been popular choices for the last 5 years on the Annual Grooveyard Summer Song Survey. However, The Grooveyard was unable to have their annual Summer Survey this year, due to unfortunate circumstances. So, without voting, I’ll list 10 great Summer-themed hits. Some of these are lifelong favorites of mine and some of these I learned while listening to The Grooveyard hosted by D.J. Alan Seltzer on WCWP 88.1 FM!
1 . “Here Comes Summer” by Jerry Keller
The title says it all in this mellow, happy go-lucky hit which came out in 1958. This song ranked #5 on The Grooveyard’s 2019 Summer Song Survey.
2 . “Summertime Summertime” by The Jamies
Grab your beach ball and have some fun with The Jamies. A great doo-wop hit from 1958, this was #15 on The Grooveyard’s Summer Song survey in 2019.
3 . “One Summer Night” by The Danleers
Clearly a great song for a romantic Summer’s night. This song topped the charts in 1958 and made it to #4 in 2019 on The Summer Song Survey.
The greatest Summer anthem of all time, and one of the greatest Rock N Roll hits of all time, this was Eddie Cochran’s most well known song from 1958. It made it to Number Three on The Grooveyard Summer Song Survey in 2019.
5 . “Summertime” by Sam Cooke
This popular song from “Porgy and Bess” has been done by many artists including a famous rendition by Janis Joplin in 1969. Here’s is a wonderful version by Sam Cooke from 1957. It was #49 on the Survey in 2019.
6 . “Vacation” by Connie Francis
This is by far my favorite song by Connie, it’s really a lot of fun! I love how it celebrates being on Summer Vacation. It’s from 1962, and still very much a Malt Shop classic. It was #36 on The Grooveyard Summer Song Survey in both 2018 and 2019!
7 . “Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole
I always liked this song, but I thought it was from the early 50’s. It turns out to be a 1963 hit for Nat King Cole, who had many previous hits in the 50’s. In 2019, it came in at #8 on the Survey.
8 . “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland
It just wouldn’t be summer without this song! It was a huge hit for Brian Hyland in 1960. I think kids of all eras like this song. I remember singing it relentlessly one day while making Playdough fries at the age of 7. It was starting to drive my friend’s Mom nuts! In any case, this is a fun one, no denying that. It was #25 on the 2019 Survey.
9 . “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters
In 1959, this was another huge hit for The Coasters of “Charlie Brown” and “Yakity-Yak” fame. I thought the idea of “Poison Ivy” was so summer-themed, that I put this song on the survey as a write-in and it ended up as #24! Not bad for its first time on the Survey.
10 . “Sea Of Love” by Phil Phillips
Here’s last year’s Number One on The Grooveyard Summer Song Survey, the 1959 hit that is strongly associated with Summer romance. Phil Phillips was perhaps best known for his version of this song which made it to #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Charts. Phillips passed away on his 94th Birthday: March 14, 2020. His amazing contribution to the music world will be forever remembered and appreciated.
I hope you enjoyed these Summertime Greats! Remember to check out The Grooveyard on 88.1 FM on Long Island or by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org, via the TuneIn app. or the WCWP app on your iPhone or Android device. Saturday Nights at 7pm Eastern.
All NEW shows starting on June 13th from Alan Seltzer’s NEW home studio! Get your requests and dedications in now via the website.
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Listen to “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM on 88.1 FM on Long Island or by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org, via the TuneIn app. or the WCWP app on your iPhone or Android device. You can also follow us on Twitter. and on the Facebook groups for the show and WCWP.
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