Beach party 7-14-2011

Sounds of the summer.

15 songs to get your summer clambake started off right.

It’s summer. Time to let loose, gather your friends and catch some rays. The work week is that much easier to get through if you have that clambake on the beach to look forward to. Now that you know what to wear, what to eat, and even what games to play, all you need is the soundtrack. The key to a great party playlist is mixing familiar favorites with newer songs that feel familiar. Your list should add to the atmosphere of your get together, not dominate it. Keep it light, keep it fun and it’ll add that extra 10 percent to your party. Here’s what we’re listening to this summer.


To hear this playlist, click here (will launch in iTunes).

1. Vampire Weekend – “A-Punk (2008)
Even though this track is a couple of summers old, it’s still holding its own. With its catchy beats and a melody that is simply infectious, “A-Punk” might be on your summer playlist for years to come.


2. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – American Girl (1977)

Making Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 best guitar songs of all time list, “American Girl” has the ultimate classic feel—no matter how many times you hear it, it never seems to grow old.


3. The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing (2009)
This indie-pop four-piece released their first album last year; but their look, feel and sound is from a different time. Think pure ’60s surf rock with a tinge of ’80s new wave. We can’t help but love this single from their latest EP,  Summertime!


4. The Ataris – The Boys of Summer (2003)
This modern version of Don Henley’s track pumps some life and a different kind of energy into his classic ’80s tune.


5. The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA (1963)
No summer playlist is complete without the Beach Boys. Blasting from the backyard or beachfront, this track will make you want to catch a wave. Or sing in your best falsetto.



6. Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky (1978)
ELO’s Jeff Lynne saw a break in the rainy weather that cured his writer’s block long enough to write this song. It might not cure your writer’s block, but it’ll have you dancing in no time.


7. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes – Janglin’ (2009)
As with many of Edward Sharpe’s tracks, “Janglin’” conjures up visions of the whole gang singing around the campfire. Your guests will be tapping their feet and smiling by the end. Beats any campfire song we can remember.


8. Beck – Gamma Ray (2008)
Beck continues to defy classification and what’s expected of him. And he doesn’t disappoint here. “Gamma Ray” sounds like a ’60s surfer rock tune with a beach-party beat. Go figure.


9. The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon (1966)
Ah, the Kinks. This has that old-school acoustic feel, complete with stunning harmonies and just a tinge of ragtime piano. Ray and friends will make you thankful it’s a lazy afternoon and not a hectic Monday at the office.


10. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer in the City (1966)
This song speaks for itself. Even if you’re not in the city, it just screams summer. Keep an ear out for the authentic “sounds of summer in the city”—complete with a Volkswagen Beetle’s horn and a jackhammer.



11. Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel (2004)
With a chorus originally written by Bob Dylan and the remainder completed by Old Crow Medicine Show years later, “Wagon Wheel” feels like it’s from another time. Maybe the Dust Bowl. If you’re not from the south, it’ll make you wish you were.


12. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Three Little Birds (1977)
Another summer must-have is anything by Bob Marley. Nothing makes the stress melt away more than hearing Marley croon, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing.” Grab a drink and, well, don’t worry about a thing.


13. The Black Keys – Tighten Up (2010)
The Black Keys revive the blues once again with this single from their latest album, Brothers. Feel the urge to put more songs from this album on your list? Go for it. It’s that good.


14. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Little Wing (1967)
Inspired by the original Summer of Love, this track’s dreamy lyrics make you feel like you are drifting away with the breeze into the clouds. Enough said.


15. Weezer – Holiday (1994)
This feel-good song is about getting away from it all. The bridge has a slow doo-wop a capella section that makes you feel like you’ve momentarily gone back in time, then the band swells back in for a rocking finish.

TAGS: beach | beck | bob marley & the wailers | Clambake | edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes | Electric Light Orchestra | jimi hendrix | old crow medicine show | Party | playlist | Summer | the ataris | The Beach Boys | the black keys | the drums | the kinks | the lovin' spoonful | tom petty & the heartbreakers | vampire weekend | weezer

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  • avatar
    Ryan Ricketts
    This was a really great post. Some of these suggestions are terrific! Here are some others that I found great for summer: Alexi Murdoch — “Orange Sky” (2002) Bon Iver — “Calgary” (2011) Doves — “Caught by the River” (2002) Animal Collective — “Summertime Clothes” (2009) The Naked and Famous — “Eyes” (2010) The Head and the Heart — “Down in the Valley” (2011)
    43 months ago | Report abuse |
  • avatar
    No Jimmy Buffett?
    43 months ago | Report abuse |