I love “Can’t Stop the Feeling” as much as the next human, but there is only so much “dance, dance, dance” one can tolerate before going a little nutty. When you have OD’d Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s auto-tuned techno-thump and you’re waking up still singing Jason Derulo, there’s only one cure for the summertime blues: a solid, nostalgia-inspiring mix of the best hits from your childhood.
Let’s admit that the thing that’s been missing from that backyard barbecue is a little Bananarama; that a little Sheena Easton would vastly improve our road trip sing-alongs. While this playlist would undoubtedly sound a heckuva lot better on cassette, don’t let that stop you. These songs will endure long after the boys of summer have gone.
1. Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams (1984)
Who didn’t want their first real six-string after hearing this (even if they didn’t play guitar)?
2.Cruel Summer, Bananarama (1984)
3. Suddenly Last Summer, The Motels (1983)
It’s not “Only the Lonely,” but it’s still a classic.
4. The Boys of Summer, Don Henley (1984)
Who didn’t envision herself with her hair combed back and those Wayfarers on? Even if she was just 10 years old when this song came out?
5. Vacation, The Go-Go’s (1982)
Synchronized waterskiing while wearing tutus FTW.
6. Richard Marx, Endless Summer Nights (1987)
“Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye.” Still true.
7. Rain in the Summertime, The Alarm (1987)
A sleeper hit. Guaranteed to get radio play every time it rained from June through August.
8. The Heat Is On, Glen Frey (1984)
The “heat” in the title was probably metaphorical. But it still felt like a song about rising temperatures.
9. Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves (1983)
Try not to dance to this.
10. Hot Summer Nights, Miami Sound Machine (1986)
Feel the heat, wild and sweet.