Songs about the summer

Table of Contents

The 100 Biggest Summer Songs of All Time: A Complete List

Looking back nearly 60 years and ranking the one-hit wonders, pop outliers and funky jams reveals how the season’s most massive singles share two essential elements: sincere emotion and a touch of novelty.

1. “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112

On March 9, 1997, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace was murdered leaving a Soul Train Awards afterparty in Los Angeles. Soon after, Puff Daddy, R&B group 112 and Wallace’s widow, Faith Evans, paid him tribute on a song that sampled The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” The video — which culminates with Evans singing the spiritual “I’ll Fly Away” from atop a hill — premiered in early May and quickly became one of MTV’s most-played clips. “It really hit home when I saw the video,” says New York DJ Funkmaster Flex, who remembers broadcasting the song from a promo CD before Bad Boy Records sent him a proper 12-inch. The single then debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 14, remained there for 11 weeks and was succeeded by Wallace’s own “Mo Money Mo Problems” from his posthumous LP Life After Death. “It was a tough time,” recalls Flex. “But between Big’s album and Diddy’s album, it almost felt like Biggie didn’t pass.” —NICK MURRAY

Fun Fact: Sting joined 112, Evans and Puff Daddy to perform the track live at the 1997 Video Music Awards.

9. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams was finishing up his sixth LP, Waking Up the Neighbours, when film composer Michael Kamen approached the Canadian musician’s team about collaborating on the theme to Kevin Costner’s early-’90s vehicle Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Co-written with Adams’ frequent collaborator Mutt Lange, the lyrics for Robin and Maid Marian’s surging love song were composed in 90 minutes – and then went on to become the foundation of the biggest hit of the year. Remembers Adams’ manager Bruce Allen: “It was a big wedding song, but you heard it at the mall — everywhere.” —GARRETT KAMPS

Fun Fact: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” lost the best original song Academy Award to “Beauty and the Beast” (a Hot 100 top 10 for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson).

Summer Songs 1985-2016: The Top 10 Tunes of Each Summer

22. “Waterfalls” – TLC

Amped from the success of its triple-platinum debut, TLC entered the studio in late 1993 to record a follow-up with a dream team of producers — among them Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, Puff Daddy and production team Organized Noize. What resulted was 1994’s CrazySexyCool, an LP that has sold 7.7 million copies stateside (according to Nielsen Music) and delivered the act’s biggest hit. Written by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize — with backup vocals by then-unknown Cee Lo Green — the Grammy-winning, chart-dominating single wasn’t just a commercial juggernaut.

Released in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and the drug war, the song’s lyrics addressed these issues (e.g., “His health is fading and he doesn’t know why/Three letters took him to his final resting place”), and its MTV Video Music Awards-sweeping clip, helmed by director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton), brought these concerns into the living rooms of millions. —GARRETT KAMPS

Fun Fact: The video cost more than $1 million. “I had no idea how huge the record was until I heard how much the video budget was,” says Etheridge.

30. “Light My Fire” – The Doors

This 1967 breakthrough single catapulted Jim Morrison’s four-man psych circus from Whiskey a Go Go house band to Elektra Records’ million-selling success. Countless acid trips, 14 platinum certifications and one Oliver Stone biopic followed, along with a 1968 Jose Feliciano cover that hit No. 3 and extended the song’s life. “The jazz world picked it up, then I’d hear it in elevators,” says drummer John Densmore.

Fun Fact: Buick offered $75,000 to adapt the smash for an ad, which The Doors ultimately declined, a decision Densmore has never regretted: “Would this song be on this list if we’d done ‘Come on Buick, Light My Fire’?” —CAMILLE DODERO

Seven Songs That Weren’t ‘Song of the Summer’ (But Should Have Been)

45. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

The year 1984 was a colossal one for pop culture: Madonna, Michael and Bruce owned the airwaves; Beverly Hills Cop, The Karate Kid and The Terminator lit up the box office; and the CD player and the first Apple Macintosh arrived in stores. Against this backdrop, Ray Parker Jr. wrote one of the 20th century’s most memorable movie themes. While Parker later settled out of court with Huey Lewis to avoid a copyright suit over similarities to Lewis’ hit “I Want a New Drug,” “Ghostbusters” was an international smash. “I remember hearing the song and thinking, ‘This isn’t like anything else on the radio — he is basically talking,” says Bowling for Soup frontman Jaret Reddick, whose pop-punk band covered the tune for 2005 film Just Like Heaven. “It’s the keyboard line that sucks you in: You find yourself whistling it for two days.” —GARRETT KAMPS

Fun Fact: “Ghostbusters” was initially tied to a summer blockbuster, but now it’s the second-most Shazam-ed track on Halloween, after Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

50. “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield

After emerging from the 1970s as a pop heartthrob, Rick Springfield hoped that 1981’s Working Class Dog — his first album in five years — would convince critics that he had grown into a serious artist. “I thought, ‘OK, I wrote and played all these songs and produced most of the album, so they can’t see me as a teen idol any frigging longer,” he remembers now. “But they did.” At least with “Jessie’s Girl,” he was a teen idol with a No. 1 hit. The track peaked on Aug. 1, 1981, a little more than a year after he met the woman (and her boyfriend) who inspired the lyrics in a stained-glass class. “Writing the song took about three weeks,” he says. “Being hot for the girl took about five seconds.” —NICK MURRAY

Fun Fact: Springfield accepted his part as General Hospital’s Dr. Noah Drake after recording “Jessie’s Girl,” unsure if the song would ever be released.

And, the Nos. 51-100 biggest Songs of the Summer all-time:

51, Hurts So Good, John Cougar, 1982

52, One Dance, Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, 2016

53, Alone, Heart, 1987

54, Wild Thing, The Troggs, 1966

55, Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, 1994

56, Rush Rush, Paula Abdul, 1991

57, Fingertips – Pt 2, Little Stevie Wonder, 1963

58, Fancy, Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, 2014

59, Love the Way You Lie, Eminem featuring Rihanna, 2010

60, Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl), Looking Glass, 1972

61, One of These Nights, Eagles, 1975

62, Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful, 1966

63, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, Jim Croce, 1973

64, Payphone, Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa, 2012

65, If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez, 1999

66, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John & Kiki Dee, 1976

67, This Guy’s in Love With You, Herb Alpert, 1968

68, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Ray Charles, 1962

69, Cheerleader, OMI, 2015

70, Give Me Everything, Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer, 2011

71, Kiss and Say Goodbye, The Manhattans, 1976

72, Shout, Tears for Fears, 1985

73, Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean, 2006

74, Where Did Our Love Go, The Supremes, 1964

75, It’s Now or Never, Elvis Presley with The Jordanaires, 1960

76, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), Four Tops, 1965

77, Annie’s Song, John Denver, 1974

78, Bent, matchbox twenty, 2000

79, Love Will Keep Us Together, Captain & Tennille, 1975

80, Party Like a Rockstar, Shop Boyz, 2007

81, Hello, I Love You, The Doors, 1968

82, Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian), The Raiders, 1971

83, Coming Up (Live at Glasgow), Paul McCartney and Wings, 1980

84, You’re Makin’ Me High/Let It Flow, Toni Braxton, 1996

85, Weak, SWV, 1993

86, I Get Around, The Beach Boys, 1964

87, Right Here Waiting, Richard Marx, 1989

88, Flashdance…What a Feeling, Irene Cara, 1984

89, Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes, 1981

90, What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner, 1984

91, Everybody Loves Somebody, Dean Martin, 1964

92, Rude, MAGIC!, 2014

93, Three Times a Lady, Commodores, 1978

94, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston, 1987

95, People Got to Be Free, The Rascals, 1968

96, See You Again, Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, 2015

97, Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye featuring Kimbra, 2012

98, Good Times, Chic, 1979

99, U Remind Me, Usher, 2001

100, Honky Tonk Women, The Rolling Stones, 1969


The Biggest Summer Songs of All Time chart is based on each track’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer tracking period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The chart was compiled utilizing an inverse point system for 1959 (the Hot 100’s first full summer) through 1991 (the final summer prior to the advent of Nielsen Music data), with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. From 1992 through 2016, the chart incorporates point totals accumulated from radio airplay and sales, as well as points from other data sets (i.e., streaming) that were included in the Hot 100. Years were then weighted to ensure fairly equal representation for songs of all eras of the Hot 100’s history.

Portions of this story originally appeared in the July 25, 2015, issue of Billboard.

The 20 best summer songs of all time

There are so many great songs about the summer, but what really belongs on your playlist?

Whether you’re simply facing the high temperatures on the your daily commute or taking a road trip, there are songs that perfectly capture the mood for the season – from hip-hop classics to new electric dance hits.

To help you out, INSIDER picked the 20 best summer songs of all time.

See what made our list below (in no particular order):

1. “Hot in Herre” by Nelly

The summer 2002 single was anything but subtle with the lyrics: “It’s getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes.” Whether you were at a nightclub, a beach, house party, or anywhere without an air conditioner, you related to this song in some way or another.

2. “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z

Not only was this song one of Beyoncé’s first hits as a solo artist, but this was her first collaboration with current husband (then-boyfriend) Jay-Z. According to Rolling Stone, “Crazy in Love” stayed at the top of the charts for 27 weeks after its release in May 2003. The track also became the first song that Beyoncé and Jay-Z danced to at their wedding reception in 2008.

3. “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka dot Bikini” by Brian Hyland

A song about a girl in tiny bikini was definitely the summer anthem of 1960. The idea for the single came from songwriter Paul Vance who was inspired by his two-year-old daughter Paula who he took to the beach in her new bikini. Oddly enough, Brian Hyland was a 16-year-old sophomore when he recorded the song for Vance, according to Songfacts.

4. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” by Michael Jackson

The Michael Jackson song was released in the summer of 1983, and was the fourth single off Jackson’s popular “Thriller” Album. “Wanna Be Startin Something” was nominated for a Grammy for best R&B song and was the No. 10 most-played song that summer.

5. “Wild Thing” by The Troggs

When writer Chip Taylor wrote the 1965 hit “Wild Thang” for The Troggs, he didn’t take the lyrics too seriously.

“I was on the floor laughing when I was through,” he told Rolling Stone.” “It’s still inspired, even in its own dumbness.”

Taylor may have thought it was dumb, but the song was successful enough to be the No. 5 most-played summer song of that year.

6. “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

Although released in March of 2007, Rihanna’s single “Umbrella” became a hit later that summer. The song was responsible for launching the singer into super-stardom just a year after her debut album, with the help of her mentor and rapper Jay-Z.

7. “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston

Sean Kingston knew his 2009 summer single, “Fire Burning,” would be a success because he spent time listening to his audience. The singer, who released his breakout hit “Beautiful Girls” in the summer of 2007, told The Boom Box that the club vibe is what he was going for with “Fire Burning.”

“That’s what’s going on right now,” he said. “I’m big on the computer. I like to read blogs and like to listen to radio and see what’s working right now. I feel like the club is where it’s at.”

The song reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts.

8. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dog

Katy Perry’s 2010 breakout hit not only pays homage to The Beach Boys original hit of the same title, but she was also inspired by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Perry told MTV News that she wrote the hit out of jealousy that there hadn’t been an anthem about her home state for a while.

9. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers

Bill Withers’ inspiration behind the 1972 hit was based on leaving behind his support system back home after moving to Los Angeles. According to Rolling Stone, Withers learned a lot about helping family and neighbors when they needed you while growing up in the coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia .

10. “Macarena” by Los Del Rio

Before the “Cha Cha Slide,” there was “Macarena.” And even today, it’s still one of the best breakout synchronized dance tunes. “Macarena” gained popularity so fast that even Hilary Clinton clapped along as delegates danced to it at the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

11. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John feat. Kiki Dee

According to Songfacts, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” ended up being Elton John’s first No. 1 song in the UK. John realized he hit the jackpot by collaborating with Dee, so he did it again on another song called “True Love” that ended up being the No. 2 song in the UK.

12. “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

Before “I Gotta Feeling” came out in the summer of 2009, Fergie told Marie Claire that the future hit was going to be a party song.

“It’s dedicated to all the party people out there in the world that want to go out and party. Mostly every song on the Black Eyed Peas record is painting a picture of our party life,” she said.

The party song eventually lead to being the longest-running No. 1 single of that year and was the most-downloaded song on iTunes as of February 2010.

13. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj has Taylor Swift to thank for the success of her single “Super Bass.” The song was originally released on Minaj’s late 2010 album “Pink Friday,” but was buried within bonus tracks that were only available on certain editions. When Swift got wind of the song, she became an immediate fan and even invited Minaj to one of her tour dates to rap the lyrics with her.

“She tweeted that she liked ‘Super Bass’ and then all of her fans who had never heard about Nicki Minaj went and purchased it. After Taylor tweeted that, ‘Super Bass’ climbed up 80-something spots the same day on iTunes,” Minaj told Entertainment Tonight

The track eventually became the song of the summer in 2011 reaching No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

14. “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s first single ever reached more than just the top of the charts in 1990. The New York Daily News named it one of the 100 greatest love songs and named it most influential vocal performance of all time.

15. “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys have admitted that their 1999 summer single makes no sense. But it still didn’t stop it from becoming the fifth most-played song that summer. Nick Carter told the Huffington Post that he and the band ended up writing different lyrics for the song to make more sense, but ended up going with the original.

“We hired some really well known producers at the time to redo the song,” Carter said. “So there was another version of the song out there and then we listened to it back. Then, we as a group voted on it and said, ‘No.’”

16. “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot

It’s been 25 years since we first heard this song in 1992. And since then, the song has become a pop culture staple for many of your favorite TV and music moments. From being featured on the show “Friends” and even in Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” music video.

“I’ve never been ashamed of this song, ever. I’d love to say I knew the whole time , but there’s no way you can know a song is going to last that long,” he told USA Today.

17. “Waterfalls” by TLC

The 2002 hit that was written by the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, spent seven weeks at No.1 on Billboard. The song also scored two Grammy wins and had endless airtime on MTV in it’s time, according to Ask Men.

18. “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

A fun fact you may not know about the “Jessie’s Girl” is that the Jessie’s real name was Gary. Rick Springfield told Songfacts that the only reason he didn’t keep it that way was because it wasn’t appealing enough.

“The only thing I remember is his name was Gary, so I changed the name, because ‘Gary’ didn’t sing very well.”

19. “It’s Gonna Be Me” by N’Sync

Not only is “It’s Gonna Be Me” one of N’Sync’s more notable songs, but today its iconic music video still get plenty of plays on YouTube. According to Forbes, the spike happened in 2012 when several memes poked fun at how Justin Timberlake says the word “me” in the song, pronouncing it like the month “May,” causing fans to go back and listen closely.

20. “One Dance” by Drake

“One Dance” is one of the few Drake songs that no matter how old it may get, you never get tired of hearing it at a nightclub. The single from the rapper’s “Views” album debuted in 2016 and rose to the top of the charts the summer of that year. As of October 2016, “One Dance” is the most streamed track on Spotify with more than 880 million streams.

As part of Billboard’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of our Hot 100 chart this week, we’re taking a deeper look at some of the biggest artists and singles in the chart’s history. Here, we revisit the ranking’s 100 biggest hits of all-time.

On Aug. 4 1958, Billboard launched the Hot 100, forever changing pop music — or at least how it’s measured. Sixty years later, the chart remains the gold-standard ranking of America’s top songs each week. And while what goes into a hit has changed (bye, bye jukebox play; hello, streaming!), attaining a spot on the list — or better yet, a coveted No. 1 — i s still the benchmark to which artists explore, from Ricky Nelson on the first to Drake on the latest. Which brings us to the hottest-of-the-hot list the 100 most massive smashes over the charts six decades.

Meet Our Pop Experts!
Annotations to the list from…

Diane Warren: Songwriter of “How Do I Live,” No. 5, and “Un-Break My Heart,” No. 15
Mark Ronson: Artist-songwriter-producer of “Uptown Funk!,” No. 4
Billboard: Charts team members Gary Trust, Xander Zellner and Trevor Anderson

1. The Twist – 1960
Chubby Checker
The only song to rule the Billboard Hot 100 in separate release cycles (one week in 1960, two in 1962), thanks to adults catching on to the song and its namesake dance after younger audiences popularized them.

2. Smooth – 1999
Santana Feat. Rob Thomas

3. Mack the Knife – 1959
Bobby Darin
“I love that eternally cool feel,” says Warren. “It’s a nostalgic thing: It brings me back to the songs my older sisters and my parents would play. I was writing something recently and thinking, ‘What would “Mack the Knife” be in 2018?’ ”

4. Uptown Funk! – 2015
Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars

5. How Do I Live – 1997
Leann Rimes

6. Party Rock Anthem – 2011
LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

7. I Gotta Feeling – 2009
The Black Eyed Peas

8. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) – 1996
Los Del Rio

9. Shape of You – 2017
Ed Sheeran
Sheeran’s first Hot 100 No. 1 ruled for 12 weeks in 2017, but even after its reign ended, it broke records, staying in the top 10 for 33 weeks — one more than The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) and LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live.”

10. Physical – 1981
Olivia Newton-John

11. You Light Up My Life – 1977
Debby Boone

12. Hey Jude – 1968
The Beatles

13. Closer – 2016
The Chainsmokers Feat. Halsey

14. We Belong Together – 2005
Mariah Carey

15. Un-Break My Heart – 1996
Toni Braxton

16. Yeah! – 2004
Usher Feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris
In 2004, R&B and hip-hop’s dominance was undeniable, and “Yeah!” perfectly captured the day’s hottest sounds: Usher’s smooth vocals, Ludacris’ light-hearted rhymes and Lil Jon’s crunk-R&B production. The Atlanta trio was rewarded with 12 weeks atop the Hot 100, but R&B and hip-hop were 2004’s real MVPs: A person of color performed every Hot 100 No. 1 that year.

17. Bette Davis Eyes – 1981
Kim Carnes

18. Endless Love – 1981
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

19. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) – 1976
Rod Stewart

20. You Were Meant for Me/Foolish Games – 1997

21. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You – 1991

Bryan Adams

22. I’ll Make Love to You – 1994
Boyz II Men

23. The Theme From “A Summer Place” – 1960
Percy Faith & His Orchestra

24. Le Freak – 1978

25. How Deep Is Your Love – 1977
Bee Gees
“The Bee Gees are some of the best songwriters ever in pop music, and this is one of their better songs,” says Warren of the first single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which became the Gibbs’ top-charting hit.

26. Eye of the Tiger – 1982

27. We Found Love – 2011
Rihanna Feat. Calvin Harris

28. Low – 2008
Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain

29. Just Want to Be Your Everything – 1977
Andy Gibb

30. Too Close – 1998

31. Every Breath You Take – 1983
The Police
“It became this wedding song, but it’s about a stalker!” says Warren with a laugh. “You think it’s romantic, but it could be someone looking through your window! I like the subversiveness of that. And it had quite a life too, with Puffy’s version . If you put those two together, it’d be No. 1 on this list.” (This is true.)

32. Somebody That I Used to Know – 2012
Gotye Feat. Kimbra

33. ​Despacito – 2017
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Feat. Justin Bieber

34. Flashdance… What a Feeling – 1983
Irene Cara

35. Rolling in the Deep – 2011

36. Tossin’ and Turnin’ – 1961
Bobby Lewis

37. The Battle of New Orleans – 1959
Johnny Horton

38. One Sweet Day – 1995
Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

39. Truly Madly Deeply – 1998
Savage Garden

40. Silly Love Songs – 1976

41. Let’s Get It On – 1973
Marvin Gaye

42. Night Fever – 1978
Bee Gees

43. Another One Bites the Dust – 1980

44. Say Say Say – 1983
Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

45. How You Remind Me – 2001

46. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree – 1973
Dawn Feat. Tony Orlando

47. It’s All in the Game – 1958
Tommy Edwards

48. I Want to Hold Your Hand – 1964
The Beatles
The all-time top act in Hot 100 history broke through in America with this single, the first of its record 20 No. 1s. The song reigned for seven weeks, setting the record for the longest-leading debut hit on the chart for a Capitol Records act. (Forty-four years later, Katy Perry tied the mark with “I Kissed a Girl.”)

49. Shadow Dancing – 1978
Andy Gibb

50. Call Me Maybe – 2012
Carly Rae Jepsen

*See story here

51. Blurred Lines – 2013
Robin Thicke Feat. T.I. + Pharrell

52. Candle in the Wind – 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight – 1997
Elton John

53. No One – 2007
Alicia Keys

54. I Will Always Love You – 1992
Whitney Houston

55. End of the Road – 1992
Boyz II Men

56. Boom Boom Pow – 2009
The Black Eyed Peas
Some years, the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 belongs to one act for weeks on end (The Beatles in 1964, Drake in 2018). But no artist has achieved a streak like The Black Eyed Peas did in 2009, when the group ruled for a record 26 weeks in a row, thanks to the smashes “Boom Boom Bow” (12 weeks) and “I Gotta Feeling” (14).

57. Call Me – 1980

58. Let Me Love You – 2005

59. Stayin’ Alive – 1978
Bee Gees

60. Lady – 1980
Kenny Rogers

61. TiK ToK – 2010

62. I’m a Believer -1966
The Monkees
TV and Hot 100 success have long been intertwined. By 1966, The Monkees had an eponymous NBC comedy, and over the next three years would land three No. 1s, leading longest (seven weeks) with “I’m a Believer,” written by Neil Diamond.

63. Gold Digger – 2005
Kanye West Feat. Jamie Foxx

64. Apologize – 2007
Timbaland Feat. OneRepublic

65. The Sign – 1994
Ace Of Base

*See story here

66. Centerfold – 1982
The J. Geils Band

67. All About That Bass – 2014
Meghan Trainor

​68. (Just Like) Starting Over – 1980
John Lennon

69. Royals – 2013
“It’s a little scary when you first hear it — a little ominous and brooding,” says Ronson. “It sounds so big yet so cool and dark — and it sounds like a fucking hit. As someone who makes music, that’s always the time I feel the most jealous.”

70. The Boy Is Mine – 1998
Brandy & Monica

71. Because I Love You (The Postman Song) – 1990
Stevie B

72. I Love Rock ’N Rolln – 1982
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

73. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – 1969
The 5th Dimension

74. Whoomp! (There It Is) – 1993
Tag Team
“Whoomp!” never hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 — it was blocked by UB40’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover.” But the dancefloor classic’s seven weeks at No. 2 secured its place on this list. It even spawned two more versions that subsequently hit the chart: “Addams Family (Whoomp!)” and “Whoomp (There It Went)” from Disney’s Mickey Unrapped.

75. Moves Like Jagger – 2011
Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera

76. Ebony and Ivory – 1982
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

77. Rush Rush – 1991
Paula Abdul

78. That’s What Friends Are For – 1986
Dionne & Friends

79. Happy – 2014
Pharrell Williams

80. Upside Down – 1980
Diana Ross
“It’s such a tough-sounding record, with that Nile Rodgers/Bernard production,” says Ronson. “But it’s like club crack. As a DJ, I’ve probably played that record 23 million times. People still just go crazy for it — even more so than ‘I’m Coming Out.’ ”

81. Sugar, Sugar – 1969
The Archies

82. Just the Way You Are – 2010
Bruno Mars

83. Dilemma – 2002
Nelly Feat. Kelly Rowland

84. I Heard It Through the Grapevine – 1968
Marvin Gaye

85. You’re Still the One – 1998
Shania Twain

86. Billie Jean – 1983
Michael Jackson

87. Hot Stuff – 1979
Donna Summer

88. Rockstar – 2017
Post Malone Feat. 21 Savage

89. Gangsta’s Paradise – 1995
Coolio Feat. L.V.

90. Abracadabra – 1982
The Steve Miller Band

91. Perfect – 2017
Ed Sheeran

92. You’re So Vain -1973
Carly Simon

93. Play That Funky Music – 1976
Wild Cherry

94. Say You, Say Me – 1985
Lionel Richie

95. My Sharona – 1979
The Knack
“Everything goes together to make this iconic riff: these crazy guitar tones, the drums are super boxy, and having come out of the warm ’70s sound, it stood out so much,” says Ronson. “It’s one of the greatest one-hit wonders ever.”

96. All Night Long (All Night) – 1983
Lionel Richie

97. Nothing Compares 2 U – 1990
SinÉad O’Connor
“Everything about it is pop perfection,” says Warren. “I usually like the version by the artist who wrote it, but you know what? She outdid . It’s all in the performance, in those words and that melody and what it makes you feel. You don’t need all the bells and whistles.”

98. I Swear – 1994

99, Family Affair – 2001
Mary J. Blige

100. Waiting for a Girl Like You – 1981
Foreigner’s lush ballad (co-written by Ronson’s stepdad, guitarist Mick Jones) zoomed to No. 2, then stayed there for 10 weeks. “He tries to say he wrote it for my mom, and she’s like, ‘Dude, it came out three years before we met,’ ” says Ronson with a laugh. To date, only one other song has peaked at No. 2 for that long: Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” in 2002 and 2003.

Methodology: The Greatest of All-Time 60th Anniversary Billboard Hot 100 Songs and Artists rankings are based on weekly performance on the Hot 100 (from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958, through July 21, 2018). Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower spots earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates during various periods. Artists are ranked based on a formula blending performance, as outlined above, of all of their Hot 100 chart entries.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 4 issue of Billboard.

If your beach music doesn’t put you in your feels and/or make you want to have a dance party, it’s time to make a new playlist. A mix of head-bangers and soothing escapes is ideal for a good time and, of course, a required nap (or three) in-between a day of swimming and drinking from a koozie. The next time you head on a weekend getaway or pretend to be on one at your desk, radiate good vibes and hit play on our summer beach playlist, below.

1. “Wild Thoughts” – DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna

Mood: Party

2. “Fix” – Hazel English

Mood: Chill

3. “I Dare You” – the xx

4. “Heatstroke” – Calvin Harris ft. Young Thug, Pharrell, and Ariana Grande

5. “XX” – morgxn

6. “Time On Her Side” – Future Islands

7. “Passionfruit” – Drake

8. “Sunset Lover” – Petit Biscuit

9. “Take Me Away” – Wild Belle

Mood: Chill

10. “One Dance” – Drake ft. WizKid and Kyla

Mood: Party

11. “Drew Barrymore” – SZA

12. “West Coast (The Young Professionals Remix)” – Lana Del Ray

13.”Just Tell Me” – Nico Yaryan

14. “Miami” – Will Smith

15. “Take Me Home” – Cash Cash ft. Bebe Rexha

16. “Wild Ones” – Flo Rida ft. SIA

17. “Ball for Me” – Post Malone ft. Nicki Minaj

18. “Young, Dumb, & Broke” – Khalid

19. “It Ain’t Me” – Kygo ft. Selena Gomez

20. “After the Storm” – Kali Uchis ft. Tyler the Creator

21. “I Like It” – Cardi B

22. “Love Lies” – Khalid & Normani

23. “Never Be the Same” – Camilla Cabello

24. “Back to You” – Selena Gomez

25. “Barcelona” – George Ezra

26. “Better Together” – Jack Johnson

27. “Dani California” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

28. “Deja Vu” – Post Malone ft. Justin Bieber

29. “Drunk In Love” – Beyonce ft. Jay-Z

30. “Work” – Rihanna ft. Drake

31. “Free Fallin'” – John Mayer

32. “God’s Plan” – Drake

33. “Summer” – Calvin Harris

34. “Butterflies” – Kacey Musgraves

35. “Hey Girl” – Lady Gaga ft. Florence Welch

36. “Lean On” – Major Lazer ft. MØ and DJ Snake

37. “Levels” – Avicii

38. “The Lime Tree” – Trevor Hall

39. “Nice for What” – Drake

40. “No Tears Left to Cry” – Ariana Grande

41. “T-Shirt Weather” – Circa Waves

42. “Day Drinking” – Little Big Town

43. “Body Like a Back Road” – Sam Hunt

44. “Hunger” – Florence + The Machine

45. “Drunk on You” – Luke Bryan

46. “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” – Jake Owen

47. “Thank U, Next” – Ariana Grande

48. “Take Me Away” – Daniel Caesar

49. “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

50. “Waves” – Mr. Probz

51. “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers

52. “GIRL” – Marren Morris

53. “Juice” – Lizzo

54. “Meant to Be” – Bebe Rexha

55. Latch – Disclosure ft. Sam Smith

56. “Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish

57. “I Can’t Get Enough” – benny blanco, Tainy, Selena Gomez, J Balvin

58. “Sit Next to Me” – Foster The People

59. “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey

60. “I Like Me Better” – Lauv

Download our summer beach playlist:

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Rachel Epstein Associate Digital Editor Rachel Epstein is the associate editor at, where she covers celeb and royals news, culture, lifestyle, and politics.

Butter Rum


Hit The Beach

Thanks Retro-Kleptro for remembering Neo Beach. The “Hit The Beach Now!” tag on this song became an integral part of the marketing for Neo Beach; an incredibly decadent and popular nightclub on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. Neo Beach opened Thursday, January 19th, 1989 at a little past 9PM. There were more than 1,000 people waiting in line to see the new temple of decadence; the first new nightclub to open at West End Park in more than a decade. Neo Beach had begun as Neo on Belle Chasse Highway in Gretna, on the West Bank across from the Meadowcrest Hospital. After losing it’s liquor license in a hard fought legal battle that went all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Neo had to close after enjoying it’s biggest weekend of business in the club’s existence. Less than 90 days later, the West End location opened it’s doors to more than triple the previous location’s business. We routinely did over three-thousand admissions per weekend night. Much of this success was due to the club’s music performed by Donnie Celistine and Rusty Abney. Donnie would play Top 40 club hits till 4AM, then Rusty would go high-energy, deep underground till 10AM. In addition, the club presented hundreds of concerts featuring major Top 40 and Dance acts, and many classic rock shows such as Foghat, Cinderella, and Peter Frampton.
As owner of Neo Beach, with the help of my partner, Don Mohr, I designed and built the club and handled it’s marketing. Jay Desoto was the hands on manager. As an ex-radio personality, I wrote and produced the commercials, which leads us back to the use of this song in our marketing. Using “Hit The Beach Now” along with C’Vello’s “This Jam Is Cold” where Neo Beach is mentioned and sung about, I managed to create a strong identifying jingle that went something like this… Hit the beach now… (scratch) Neo, Neo Beach. We used this jingle thousands of times, as soon as anyone heard it, they new a Neo Beach commercial was on the air.
Of all the nightclubs I have owned, Neo Beach is my favorite; it was a very special moment in time. Anyone wishing to hear a Neo Beach commercial, or if you would like me to send you Neo Beach photos, just say hello at [email protected]

For those of us who don’t live in tropical splendor all year round, the arrival of summer brings with it a certain set of seasonal enjoyments: from holidays spent by the beach to sunning yourself in the backyard – all of which are soundtracked by the warm, airy sound of the best summer songs.

Before “song of the summer” became an official superlative used by critics, it was merely measured by an instinctive feeling. What makes a great summer song? Well, for a start it’s all about the vibe, the feel, every bit as much as it’s about the lyrics.

Ever since the Billboard Hot 100 was christened in 1958, each summer’s seasonal hits have stood as a snapshot in time: a nostalgic mix of memory and sunshine that transport you back to the summers of your youth. Whether it’s 1958’s greaser classic ‘Summertime Blues’, by Eddie Cochran, or the 1991 block-party anthem ‘Summertime’, by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, every era has thrown up classics worth of inclusion among the best summer songs.

Listen to the best summer songs on Spotify and scroll down to read our Top 10 best summer songs.

Best Summer Songs Ever: 10 Essential Summertime Jams

10: Bob Marley: ‘Jamming’

Reggae icon Bob Marley remains the unequivocal king of sun-soaked island fare. From ‘Sun Is Shining’ to ‘Could You Be Loved’, Marley’s music has a magical effect on anyone’s dopamine levels. But ‘Jamming’ remains the quintessential summer cut, despite some of its more conscious-raising lyrics going over the heads of your pool-party attendees.

9: Chicago: ‘Saturday In The Park’

This 70s hit from soft rockers Chicago not only evokes the feeling of the season but can make you feel the warmth of summer even on the Windy City’s coldest day. Inspired by a day spent in New York’s Central Park, Chicago songwriter and singer Robert Lamm paints the picture of a perfect summer day. Can you dig it?

8: The Go-Go’s: ‘Vacation’

Some summer songs capture the thrill of a summer love, while The Go-Go’s sing about when it fades away, all set to a peppy beat. Featuring the hallmark Go-Go’s sound, with girl group stylings and surf guitars, ‘Vacation’ is an infectious plea to “get away” and beware of summer flings.

7: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: ‘Summertime’

For a song that’s about sitting back and relaxing, Will Smith manages to pack in an impressive set of summertime activities, from hitting the court to cruising in the car, attending family barbecues and washing his car down. Featuring one of the most laidback grooves in rap, the Kool & The Gang-sampling anthem sounds like a block party in a bottle.

6: Eddie Cochran: ‘Summertime Blues’

The majority of summer songs are about cutting loose, hitting the streets and other winsome activities, but Eddie Cochran created a song for all those who have to work for the man all season long. In 1958, the rockabilly icon created an anthem for anyone who’s had to toil away their best summer days, tapping into the teenage angst that was bubbling just below the surface.

5: The Isley Brothers: ‘Summer Breeze, Parts 1 & 2’

No knock on soft-rock duo Seals And Croft, who crafted one of the most perfect summer songs with their 1972 hit ‘Summer Breeze’, but The Isley Brothers’ rendition takes the song to a whole other level. On one hand, the sublime simplicity of the original is what makes it such a great summer anthem, but the brothers’ soulful rendition expands the groove and turns the daytime radio hit into a sundown jam.

4. Sly & the Family Stone: ‘Hot Fun In The Summertime’

Sly and co deliver exactly what the title promises with this psychedelic soul gem. Following the success of their historic Woodstock performance, the group pull out all the stops, from soaring strings to doo-wop harmonies and hammering piano on this funkified summer jam.

3: The Beach Boys: ‘California Girls’

What other band has embodied surf, sand and sun more than The Beach Boys? Any number of their recordings can rank among the best summer songs of all time. From their 1965 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), however, ‘California Girls’ was Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s teenaged ode to the West Coast’s female populace. With its shuffling organs and crooning harmonies, ‘California Girls’ created the exoticised ideal of American sun-tanned youth and emerged as one one of the most enduring summer songs in the process.

2: Marvin Gaye: ‘Got To Give It Up, Part 1’

As the story goes, after relenting to his label’s insistence to go disco, Marvin Gaye turned out a summer jam that eclipsed anything else on the charts. A reluctant dancer himself, Gaye convinces both himself and the wallflowers of the world to hit the dancefloor with his infectious groove. The singer recruited friends and family alike to create a party atmosphere in the studio, resulting in a song that raged its way to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1: Martha & The Vandellas: ‘Dancing In The Street’

When Martha Reeves sent out her “invitation across the nation” to get people on their feet, she had no idea it would evolve into a civil-rights anthem. Thanks to the one-two punch of famed Funk Brother James Jamerson on bass and Marvin Gaye on drums, ‘Dancing In The Street’ became one of the best summer songs on record in 1964 – and lost none of its infectious energy in the decades that followed.

17 Songs Every Summer Playlist Needs

Olesya Kuprina/

You’re nestled beneath a beach umbrella, feet buried in the sand, and the condensation of a cold drink drips off your hand. Unfortunately there’s just one thing missing from this perfect summer scene—the ultimate summer playlist!

Summer songs seem to have an extra magical quality. Not only do they set the mood for tossing some disk on the shore or prepping the backyard grill, they also can’t help but evoke nostalgia, reminding us of summers one, ten, thirty years back. So here’s to those songs that help us remember that effortlessly carefree time of year. Cue up the speaker; it’s summertime.

The Best Summer Songs

Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams

Summers always seem to be viewed through rose-colored lenses—Bryan Adams’ rock hit captures that restless nostalgia and belongs on any summer playlist.

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sing it loud and proud on a Gulf Shores beach (Bushwacker in hand not optional).

All Summer Long by Kid Rock

A timeless summer anthem sure to bring back memories of wild summer nights.

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

“Sha-la-la” along to this cheery ballad from the genre-bending Northern Irish singer-songwriter—a must for a relaxing day by the pool.

Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffett

The song that launched a million Parrotheads. Blast this ditty, inspired by Jimmy’s desire for a piping hot cheeseburger after a boat trip sustained on canned goods, while preparing—what else?—a delicious cheeseburger. Pair it with Jimmy Buffett’s favorite margarita recipe.

Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys

Granted, you could pick essentially any Beach Boys song and it would be a surefire hit on any summer playlist. For beach days, we like this upbeat SoCal song. (Fun fact: Of all the Beach Boys, only Dennis surfed and Brian later confessed to being scared of the ocean.)

Summer Nights by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

Seaside flirting. Young love. Hot gossip. Does it get any more summertime than this Grease classic? We dare you not to sing along.

Soak up the Sun by Sheryl Crow

If you don’t start a girls trip by blasting the Midwestern singer’s early aughts pop hit in the car and singing along at the top of your lungs, did you even go on a summer girls trip?

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves

This uber-upbeat summer jam from the English new wave pop-rock group is an instant crowd pleaser.

Dust on the Bottle by David Lee Murphy

Fifteen minutes was all it took to write this ’90s country staple made for blasting on a boat ride, drink in hand.

Kokomo by The Beach Boys

This late Beach Boys steel drum-heavy track, named for a fictional Florida Keys island, makes for a soothing soundscape on a romantic summer night.

Beachin’ by Jake Owen

The Vero Beach native captures the easygoing simplicity of a day on the beach—just plop down in a chair, pop open a beer, and bop along to the new country classic.

Waterfalls by TLC

Blast the funky, soulful sound of TLC—featuring backing vocals and interludes from CeeLo Green and P Diddy—at any and all beach bashes this summer.

The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead

The upbeat title track from musical activist Michael Franti & Spearhead—recorded in Jamaica, Bali, and on the road—will put any beachgoer in a good mood with its pop-reggae hybrid sound.

Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince

Funky and laidback, this hip hop track from Will and Jazz sounds best while driving around on a sunny day, windows down of course.

California Gurls by Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg and pop’s Rainbow Brite queen come together for the disco-pop girly anthem everyone knows the words to.

Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Israel’s version took over as the most popular rendition of the Wizard of Oz melody and redefined Hawaiian music in the modern era. Honor the beloved singer by playing this in the background at sunset—we can’t think of a more lovely way to end a day on the shore.

Forgotten Hits

Due to overwhelming requests to see where some of their OTHER favorites fell on the list, we have now expanded this countdown to include The Top 100 Favorite Songs Of Summer …

see where YOUR favorites landed!

41. WALKIN’ ON SUNSHINE – Katrina and the Waves

42. LITTLE BIT O’SOUL – The Music Explosion

43. PALISADES PARK – Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon

44. I LIVE FOR THE SUN – The Sunrays

45. UNDER THE BOARDWALK – The Drifters

46. SUMMER – War

47. SURFER GIRL – The Beach Boys

48. SO MUCH IN LOVE – The Tymes

49. SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME – Gary Lewis and the Playboys


51. ONE SUMMER NIGHT – The Danleers

52. SURFIN’ SAFARI – The Beach Boys

53. GTO – Ronny and the Daytonas

54. SUMMERTIME – Janis Joplin

55. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF – The Four Tops

56. VACATION – Connie Francis

57. THE WARMTH OF THE SUN – The Beach Boys

58. ROCK THE BOAT – The Hues Corporation

59. ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK – Bill Haley and the Comets

60. HANKY PANKY – Tommy James and the Shondells

61. HAWAII FIVE-O – The Ventures

62. KOKOMO – The Beach Boys

63. LITTLE DEUCE COUPE – The Beach Boys

64. SUMMER (THE FIRST TIME) – Bobby Goldsboro


66. DO IT AGAIN – The Beach Boys

67. SUMMER MEANS FUN – Bruce and Terry

68. NIGHT MOVES – Bob Seger



71. ACTION – Freddy Cannon

72. COME ON DOWN TO MY BOAT – Every Mother’s Son

73. DON’T WORRY BABY – The Beach Boys

74. GRAZING IN THE GRASS – Hugh Masekela

75. UP ON THE ROOF – The Drifters

76. SUMMER WINE – Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

77. DON’T BE CRUEL – Elvis Presley

78. GO ALL THE WAY – The Raspberries

79. SUMMER SUN – Jamestown Massacre

80. SUNNY – Bobby Hebb

81. CENTERFIELD – John Fogerty

82. SUMMER SAMBA – Walter Wanderley

83. VACATION – The Go Gos

84. BUS STOP – The Hollies

85. CATCH A WAVE – The Beach Boys

86. SOMEBODY TO LOVE – Jefferson Airplane



89. WHERE THE BOYS ARE – Connie Francis


91. GOOD VIBRATIONS – The Beach Boys

92. HELP ME RHONDA – The Beach Boys

93. HOUND DOG – Elvis Presley

94. JACK AND DIANE – John Mellencamp

95. WILD THING – The Troggs

96. HONKY TONK WOMEN – The Rolling Stones

97. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE – The Beatles

98. CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ – The Mamas and the Papas

99. MARGARITAVILLE – Jimmy Buffett

100. CRUEL SUMMER – Bananarama


AFTERNOON DELIGHT – The Starland Vocal Band

BARBARA ANN – The Beach Boys

BRANDY – Looking Glass

BROWN EYED GIRL – Van Morrison


CLOSE TO YOU – The Carpenters

DIRTY WATER – The Standells

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC – The Lovin’ Spoonful

DRAG CITY – Jan and Dean

THE 59th STREET BRIDGE SONG – Harpers Bizarre

THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA – Stan Getz and Astrid Gilberto

GIRL WATCHER – The O’Kaysions


A HARD DAY’S NIGHT – The Beatles




INDIAN LAKE – The Cowsills


LAKE SHORE DRIVE – Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah


MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY – The Bob Crewe Generation




SHERRY – The Four Seasons

SHORT SHORTS – The Royal Teens


SOAK UP THE SUN – Sheryl Crow

SPILL THE WINE – Eric Burdon and War





WALK DON’T RUN – The Ventures

WAR – Edwin Starr


YOU BABY – The Turtles

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to vote. Be sure to check out The Forgotten Hits Website for more “Favorites” polls!