Summer is here, in the upper half of the hemisphere, at least. Time to bare some flesh – that’s enough, thank you – slap on the factor 30, pour a long drink, lie back and relax as John Scott provides the perfect summer playlist.  

Revolution In The Summertime – The Cosmic Rough Riders.  A bunch of Scottish chancers plunder their collection of Byrds and Big Star albums and prove that they can produce top-quality jangle pop with the best of them.

Soul Bossa Nova – Quincy Jones.  Now synonymous with Groovy Sixties secret agent Austin Powers, this brass-driven belter is guaranteed to blow the clouds away and let the sunshine through.

Slip Into Something – Kinobe.  The melody hints at something from The King And I. Just close your eyes and you will be whisked away to a tropical paradise.

White Horses – Jacky.   For readers of a certain age, this theme to the TV series of the same name, first broadcast in 1965 and then repeated endlessly, simply is the sound of the summer holidays.

Pleasant Valley Sunday –The Monkees.  Joni Mitchell gave us The Hissing Of Summer Lawns but The Monkees went for the sound of distant lawn mowers to summon up the ennui of Sixties suburbia.

Goodbye Dreaming Fields – Martin Newell.  Just as the last track captures a slice of America, Martin Newell encapsulates the essence of bucolic England.

River Man – Nick Drake.  As does this. With knobs on.

At The River – Groove Armada.  If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, slip this on. You’ll be transported.

Cruising Down The River – Lou Preager.  For those times when only a striped blazer and a straw boater will do.  Remember to put some trousers on though.

Quiet Talks And Summer Walks – The Bonzo Dog Band. The Bonzos eschew their usual silliness for this perfect piece of psychedelic pop.

What A Day For A Daydream – The Loving Spoonful.  If you look up “woozy” in the dictionary, there is a picture of this single. Or there would be if dictionaries had pictures.  And why isn’t there another word for thesaurus?.

The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair – John Barry.  She is.  She isn’t.  She is. She isn’t.  She was, and John Barry provided the soundtrack to this hairspray commercial.

One Of Those Days In England – Roy Harper.  Harper’s herbaly-enhanced love song to one of those days that seem to last forever. In reality, he probably didn’t get up until the crack of noon and was back in bed by teatime.

Summer The First Time – Bobby Goldsboro.  Dismissed by foolish people as MOR pap, that high string line and repeated piano figure scream sexual tension and you can practically hear the tar melting in the heat.

Here Comes The Summer – The Undertones.  Impossible as it is not to picture pasty-faced Feargal Sharkey lying on the beach in his Parka, Derry’s finest nail the three minute pop song in just one minute and forty five seconds.

Unemployed In Summertime – Emiliana Torrini.  Oh to be 21 and have nothing to do but stay up all night and out all day. This is what that sounds like.

Beach Baby – First Class.  First Class featured singer Tony Burrows who had also helmed hits by Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, The Pipkins and Brotherhood Of Man.  Blending The Beach Boys harmonies with a descending horn motif from Sibelius’ fifth symphony, Beach Baby is the sound of a Californian summer as seen from East Sheen in South West London.

Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks. A complete short story told in just over three minutes.  And yet, nothing really happens.  We have all been Terry or Julie and imagined that sunset though, haven’t we?

Remember A Day – Pink Floyd.  There was a time when Pink Floyd produced blissful summer pop songs by the bucketload.  See Emily Play, Cirrus Minor, Fat Old Sun.  This is possibly the best of them.  The sound of long grass and lazy river.

That Summer Feeling – Jonathan Richman.   Writer of the greatest song ever – I’m A Little Airplane – Richman pens the ultimate summer song by listing all the things that give you that summer feeling.  That feeling, he says, is going to haunt you the rest of your life.  He’s not wrong.

John Scott

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