It’s really cracking the flags out there today, as it has been much of the past weekend. It got me thinking about the songs I’ve listened to over the years that get me into the mood for such weather, or at least make me look forward to the time it brings. Here are five songs I feel fit this specification best – leave comments below with whatever songs inspire your summer.
(from High Voltage, ATCO, 1974)
This follows on nicely from the last article I did on AC/DC, and I could have just as easily chosen that song. But this one has more significance, simply in that it fires me up for any potential festival visit (Download was often my festival of choice until this year). That riff, that chorus, and that awesome bagpipe section from Bon Scott. This should be the anthem of choice for any band starting out and indeed a nice one to crank up loud or even just sing acapella to on the long walk from the campsite to the festival arena, beer can in hand.
(from New Day Rising, SST, 1985)
The first time I heard any form of this song was the cover version performed by Anthrax (found on the bonus disc from 2003’s ‘We’ve Come For You All’). I was lazing around the bedroom, with nothing much to do but to read magazines or play video games. The sun was shining outside but I wasn’t one for getting a tan. Maybe that’s a bit antisocial (no pun intended, Anthrax fans), but I was doing what I was into at the time. It was summer break at sixth form college, and I was just making the most of it. This song came on and stuck in my head ever since. I was soon checking out the original version by Hüsker Dü, one of the greatest hardcore/alt-rock acts of all time. I was not disappointed – it’s an upbeat song as summer intended and for anyone who doesn’t look forward to the end of summertime, and indeed the return to school or work, throw yourselves a party and get this song on.
(from The Real Thing, Slash, 1989)
I remember cranking this one out a hell of a lot when I initially got into Faith No More. I have an old neighbour to thank for getting into them – as kids, me and my brother were kept awake by the sound of Faith No More booming through the walls. At the time we only recognised their sound from Top of the Pops, which they frequented back in the day. Fast forward about ten years later, and I finally decided to explore this fascination by purchasing the ‘This Is It’ compilation one summer – I forget exactly which year. I was thoroughly impressed, but despite the massive appeal of songs like ‘Epic’, ‘From Out of Nowhere’ and the legendary cover of ‘Easy’, ‘Falling To Pieces’ somehow stands out for me as a song to remind me of the good times. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s the riff in the verse – but walking down the street, shades on, earphones in, musical device loud and proud, this is perfection.
(from Blues For the Red Sun, Dali, 1992)
Despite my best efforts, I was unable to avoid a clichéd choice in this list – that being mainly pop-punk, skater-punk, nu-metal and stoner rock. But I wouldn’t choose this particular song without good reason. This song isn’t about underwear, but about flip flops – and it doesn’t get much more summery than that, does it? The song itself is delightfully simple – a short slide riff pulses in the background, John Garcia singing about his hair being ‘real loooooooooooooooooooong!’ among other things. And of course, it comes booming in with a ‘whoa yeah!’ Rockin’.
(from The Action Is Go, Mammoth, 1997)
I couldn’t have this list without Fu Manchu – yeah, another stoner rock band, I know. But they have so many songs with attitude and a real driving down the highway vibe about them that I couldn’t not pick one. Hell on Wheels does the job for me just as well, but ‘Evil Eye’ was one of the first Fu Manchu songs I ever heard and is pretty much my favourite. Get a load of that riff, and that middle section – ‘Evil eye will fall’. Hell yes.
Hüsker Dü – Celebrated Summer