The Best Music for Summer | Vinyl Hits to Bring the Heat

woman playing guitar outdoors beneath the summer sun

It’s time to dig through your vinyl collection and pull out those seminal summertime records perfect for making your time at home feel easy and breezy. You know the ones we’re talking about: those records that take you back to summers past and remind you of simpler times basking in the warm glow of the sun. If you’re struggling to come up with the best songs, we have a few inspirations to get you started. Without further ado, here’s just a small sampling of the best music for summer.

1. Summer Breeze - Seals and Crofts

Summer Breeze is the quintessential summer song, slow and dreamy with an infectious melody and evocative lyrics that celebrate the season. “Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind…” These simple words have defined an entire season for generations of music lovers.

2. Surfin’ USA - The Beach Boys

Yeah, Pet Sounds may be the ultimate Beach Boys album, but it’s their earlier, more carefree work that inspires us to hit the waves and bask in the glory of summer. Surfin’ USA is the best example. It’s simple, it’s familiar, and we can’t help but sing along every time we hear it. Best of all, it embraces all the best conventions of summer: sand, surf, youth, and an abundance of free time to live life to the fullest. This is truly the best music for summer.

Single vinyl record leaning against a record cabinet

3. The Boys of Summer - Don Henley

When Eagles co-frontman Don Henley penned The Boys of Summer, young Gen-Xers had their summer anthem — and its influence still echoes to this day thanks to updated renditions from bands like The Ataris. From the invigorating synth lead to the rocking chorus, it’s one of those songs that you can’t help but move your feet to. It’s not just an evocative summer song. It’s a powerful coming-of-age story.

4. Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Set to the beat of Kool & the Gang's Summer Madness, Summertime is another classic jam that should be on every summer playlist. On this Grammy-award-winning track, Will Smith raps philosophically about the simple beauty of summer, a “time to sit back and unwind.” Youthful escapes like flirting, cruising, and shooting b-ball all receive shoutouts. It’s a relaxed, feel-good song that will flood you with summer nostalgia — even if you didn’t grow up in Philly.

5. Hot Fun in the Summertime - Sly & the Family Stone

We may not all agree on politics, religion, or whether to put pineapple on pizza, but we can all agree that Hot Fun in the Summertime is an essential summer hit. Like all the best music for summer, it reflects on simpler times: being out of school and embracing the endless possibilities of summer. When you’re young, summer is everything, and this jazzy brass-driven jam whisks us right back to those unforgettable childhood vacations.

6. Dancing in the Street - Martha & The Vandellas

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street. What more do you need? The celebratory summer lyrics coupled with the irresistible Motown beat and Martha Reeves’ flawless vocals make for an unforgettable anthem. Rock this song whenever you want to get in the right mood for the season. Just do yourself a favor and skip the David Bowie and Mick Jagger version.

7. In the Sun - Blondie

This is more of an honorable mention as it’s not quite as well-known as the other songs on this list, but it still represents some of the best music for summer. Taken from Blondie’s self-titled debut album, this groovy song opens with a lively “Surf’s up!” and boasts a catchy surf-and-punk-rock-inspired melody. The lyrics are relatable to anyone who dreams of getting away from the drab, gray city and losing themselves beneath towering palm trees that line the ocean.

Keep Your Vinyl in Pristine Condition

We could go on and on with the best music for summer (we haven’t even gotten to such iconic hits as Summertime Blues or Saturday in the Park), but these soundtracks should give you some solid inspiration.

While you’re sorting through those old vinyl records, make sure to keep them clean and pristine. With a Big Fudge 4-in-1 cleaning kit, you’ll have everything you need to remove the dust, dirt, and grime. The kit includes a cleaning solution, an antistatic velvet brush, and other easy tools that can clean your vinyl in minutes.

Give your vinyl a quick cleaning before each use, and you’ll be able to keep your summertime tunes in rotation long after the autumn leaves have fallen.