What is your summer song this year? What are your favorite summer songs of the past?

Ahh, the Summer Song. A song that you hear a lot during a particular summer that, when you hear it years later, will spark happy memories of easier days. A song that gets so much airplay and seems to be the IT song of the season. A song that gets many people dancing and singing, while others roll their eyes after two notes.

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Last year "Golden Boy" by Nadav Guedj was a contender for Summer Song, even though it was part of the Eurovision contest in the late springtime. The catchy tune and easy going vibe, paired with proud lyrics in English and Hebrew, was definitely a Jewish pop Summer Song. My daughters enjoyed singing it and dancing to it at sleep away camp and played it at home plenty of times.

For some people, talk of a Summer Song is piffle. And for some Jews, the concept and promotion of a Summer Song is just about a
disgrace, a shanda. It is too trivial a topic. The singing of Eichah, the Book of Lamentations, and Kinnot dirges, those are Jewish summer songs.

But I am one of those millions of people out there who relish the joy and pop culture power of the Summer Song. Certain songs and rock 'n roll groups are closely tied to the Summer Song. At least a few times each summer I have to blast the Beach Boys 1960s hits from my car radio. "Surfin' USA" and "Fun Fun Fun" and other upbeat rockers are extremely summery songs. When mid-August arrives I'm one of those people who need to listen to cuts from the 1969 "Woodstock" concert movie. (This week I played so much Santana and Sly and the Family Stone from that soundtrack.)
Plenty of people I know and don't know can tell you which songs, especially from their earlier years, were their favorite summer songs. Nostalgia and the ever-strong pull of a melody will do that for you.

Oddly enough, my 2016 Summer Song might be "I'm Still Here" by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. With its retro-soul sound, marching drums and horn breaks, this is no light-weight song. It is an autobiographical piece by the amazing singer, and it touches upon her tough childhood in New York City, her life struggles including her bout with cancer. This is no puff-piece of a song. It is a gritty assessment and celebration of overcoming your personal woes. I've been listening to it a lot and I get a bit teary eyed from its message and Ms Jones's excellent vocals. In fact, when I think of her, I recall a concert I saw of her with her band. My father, daughters, a few friends and I saw them on a summer evening in the summer of 2010 and it was an amazing performance, highly memorable. It was my dad's last summer, but we didn't know it then. He really enjoyed the show and was very impressed by Ms Jones.

The Summer Song. It can be something pretty special. Memories abound and await.

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