Dive In The Pool
[Tony’s note 5/29/12: While I considered this probably my most “lightweight” column, it got more responses than any other that was published.]
Inspired by our fabulous swimsuit issue, I thought I’d focus this week on summer music. Great summer songs can be irreverent, simple, energetic – like “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark featuring the late Loleatta Holloway, “It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ EZ-Rock, or “Don’t Give Up” by Chicane featuring Bryan Adams (gotta do what you wanna do…)
They can be obvious like “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley, “Summergirls” by Dino, and “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – or almost anything by Donna, um, Summer.
And I realized some are just random memories triggered when I sat down and thought, “What are some great summer songs?”
The first that popped into my head were “Magic” by Pilot (that’s from the 70’s, twinks) which made me think of riding in the back seat of mom’s sky blue Maverick as we headed to the Jersey Shore. “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” by Elton John & Kiki Dee reminded me of the big pool at the hotel as I floated on a Donald Duck inflatable tube and mom watched from the lounge chair. And a few years later, “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks was my summer jam. I took my clunky tape recorder with a homemade recording of it and rode my bike around the neighborhood, basking in that song as much as the warm sun on my little 11-year old shoulders.
Then I thought of the time I went to the beach at Wildwood, NJ and my cousin Maria (who was a few years older and already going to teen clubs) put a mixtape in the boom box. The first song on it was the original “Point Of No Return” by Expose. Something about that synth riff drove me nuts, and still does to this day. As soon as I hear it, it brings me back to that moment in Jersey (pre-Snooki.)
As I got older, I remember driving to Sandy Hook’s beaches as often as I could (but never often enough) and without fail, “Strike It Up” by Black Box featuring Martha Wash would come on the radio during the drive down every single time. Those big, powerful vocals combined with a gorgeous sunny day and the knowledge that I would soon be flat on my back, er, my beach towel with toes in the sand – made me high.
A few years later, a new dance radio station emerged out of NYC. I remember arriving at Belmar beach one day, and as I searched for the perfect spot to set up camp, I noticed every single radio I passed had that new station on, all playing “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey. (Surprise – it was the gay beach.)
So you can see a lot of my “summer song memories” are tied to the Jersey Shore where I grew up. These songs and this season together created some of the happiest feelings in my life. It was a fix I wanted to capture more often than just weekends in July and August. And that was the reason I moved to Fort Lauderdale over 13 years ago. It’s almost always summer here, at least to me. And it makes all the great songs sound better.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite summer songs and the memories attached to them. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them on our facebook page, we-got-the-beats.