Songs of summer

It’s the summer solstice, so of course I’m thinking about the Drifters…and Sly and the Family Stone…Springsteen…and even Tom Waits…

Yep, I’m thinking about songs that make me think about summer.
There are others, of course, including “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran and just about anything by the early Beach Boys.

But I’ve been in Brooklyn a couple of times in the past two weeks, and as I rode the J train over the Williamsburg Bridge and along the elevated tracks I heard this great summertime song, a hit for The Drifters, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and performed here by the great Dusty Springfield:

Last weekend we were at the Jersey Shore, on the Raritan Bay side of Sandy Hook, with the little dog Roxy, a collection of short stories by Stephen King, and a cooler equipped with sandwiches, cherries and white wine.

Here’s what I looked out at when I wasn’t reading, eating, playing with the dog or sipping wine:
sandy hook

And here’s the song I heard, even though there wasn’t a boardwalk in sight:

And then I heard this song, drifting in upon the soft bayside breeze:

And as I looked out on the water, the sunlight dipped and danced on the rippling bay, and I heard a voice ask “What makes the water glimmer like that?” and I replied, “It’s a school of diamondfish.” Then the sun slipped behind a big white cloud, and the diamondfish all dove out of sight, and music drifted across the water from a beach club across the bay, and Tom Waits began to sing this song:

Finally, just because, here’s Sly with his Family Stone:


New wave

The Beach Boys today

Surf’s up! “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” a new album by the Beach Boys, has debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

I’m reminded of the time, while  attending college in western New York, that I’d spent one weekend evening visiting a number of downtown drinking establishments. When I returned to campus, I headed straight to the student union cafeteria in search of nourishment.  Carrying my tray full of nourishment (two hamburgers and a cup of coffee), I looked around for a place to sit. For some reason, I noticed, the place was packed with people. Finally, I spotted a single empty chair at one of the tables. So I sat there, a little uncomfortable about sitting with people I didn’t know but drunk enough to not care very much.

As I focused on my food, I happened to look over at the guy sitting to my left. And I exclaimed: “Holy ****! You’re Mike Love of the Beach Boys! What the **** are you doing here?!”

Mike Love replied, “Hey, man, we just gave a concert upstairs!”

Sure enough, I looked around the table, and there were three original Beach Boys — Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine (Brian Wilson had already stopped touring) — along with sundry other bandmates and Beach Girlfriends and Beach Wives.

I said to Mike Love:  “Sorry! I didn’t know!”

End of story.

Anyway, I guess most people would say “Good Vibrations” is Brian Wilson’s masterwork. I’d vote for this:

Or this: