War was a long-running funk-rock band from southern California, who was commercially viable, at least into the 1990s. Eric Burdon, formerly of The Animals, was the lead vocalist on their first hit, Spill the Wine, back in 1970, but others took the reins shortly after that.
On the Billboard 100, the very peaceful tune called Summer, which was appropriately released on June 21, 1976, debuted on the chart on July 10 and spent 16 weeks there, eventually getting to #7. On the soul charts, it also started moving on July 10, and spent 14 weeks, reaching #4. It was declared a gold record, selling over 500,000 units.
Here is Summer, by War. Continue reading Summer song: Summer, by War
I’ve long been a sucker for those Red, Hot and Blue albums. Not only are they generally great compilations, but they aid AIDS research.
At some point, I purchased By George & Ira: Red Hot on Gershwin, which I was quite fond of. Some critics complained about the multiple versions of a few songs, but I love the way Nina Simone’s version of I Loves You Porgy segues into Bill Evans’ instrumental take, e.g.
There are four versions of Summertime. The first is by an unlikely participant on this mostly jazz album Continue reading Summer Songs: Summertime
Kathyrn Dawn Lang was born on the 2nd of November, 1961 in Consort, Alberta, Canada, which means she turns 50 this year. For reasons more complex than I need to note here, I always associate the country singer turned chaunteuse with an ex of mine.
Anyway, this is a lovely song from k.d. lang’s 2000 Invincible Summer album, Summerfling, which came out well past the time I broke up with my ex.
I REALLY loved the Temptations, and even more so after they stopped being primarily the background singers for David Ruffin, who left the group in 1968. They became more a five lead-vocal group, under the production leadership of Norman Whitfield, who, with Barrett Strong, wrote most of their songs in this period.
While primarily doing psychedelic soul at this point, the Temps recorded, on the 1970 album Psychedelic Shack the ballad It’s Summer [LISTEN!]. I’m not a big fan of songs that involve a lot of talking rather than singing. But Continue reading Summer Song: It's Summer by the Temptations
When I joined the Capitol Record Club in 1965, book and record clubs had this thing called the negative option. That is, you would get the selected book or record UNLESS you sent in the response card in time. I was really bad at negative option; I almost NEVER got the card in on time.
Which is how I ended up receiving the album Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful on Kama Sutra Records; loved that yellow label. Turns out, I was very fond of the early Spoonful. And when the subsequent single Summer in the City came out in 1966 Continue reading Summer Song: Summer in the City
I had a LOT of Seals and Crofts albums for a while. My college girlfriend even got me to see the duo live in New York City, on the birthday of Bahá’u’lláh, in 1971.
Summer Breeze entered the charts on 9/9/1972, spent 16 weeks on the charts, getting to #6. (S&C had three songs get to #6, including 1973’s Diamond Girl and 1976’s Get Closer), which is as high as they ever charted on Billboard.
Anyway, here’s the record and here’s a live version, with narrative on the scroll which could have been put in the notes.
Part of the info was that the Isley Brothers had a UK hit with the same song in 1976, which you can hear HERE.
A song from the summer of 1969, Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & Family Stone entered the Billboard charts on August 9, remained there for 16 weeks, and got up to #2 for two weeks, blocked from the top spot by the Temptations’ Can’t Get Next To You.
It also entered the soul charts on August 23, and got up to #3.
In a clever bit of marketing, the first time this song appeared on an album was the greatest hits collection. Unless you owned the singles, and you wanted this song, Everybody is a Star, and Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), you needed to buy the LP. And so I did.
A religious experience.
Do you know what it is? It’s HOT. It’s especially sticky in our home office, which has this tiny desk fan only.
So I think I need to take a respite from blogging one day of the week, usually the Christian Sabbath. But I don’t want to leave you TOTALLY bereft. I’l pick a video that means summer to me, once a week from now through Labor Day weekend.
Today’s pick is Expressway to Your Heart by the Soul Survivors, described as a “garage-rock band from New York and Philadephia.” The record, on the Crimson label – no, I never heard of it either – was released in the summer of 1967. It debuted on the Billboard charts on September 2 and stayed there for 15 weeks, getting as high as number 4.
version in stereo
live version, backed by Hall & Oates in Philadelphia, on October 23, 2009
I’m always a sucker for a good musical bottom.
One of my favorite summer songs when I was growing up I thought was schlocky, even then. But there was so much to like, such as the way the singer said be-ah instead of bee-er, because he was taught, as I’ve heard from every choir director for decades, that the ending R sound is UGLY.
So since this is in the middle of a 3-day holiday weekend in the US, I’ll leave you with:
Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole
(and if that doesn’t work, try this)