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SheWired's Fave Summer Song Playlist for All Time!

SheWired's Fave Summer Song Playlist for All Time!

While Memorial Day officially rings in the summer, Fourth of July weekend marks the season in full swing, and what is summer without a soundtrack? From folk anthems to impossibly catchy pop tunes, we've polled our friends and colleagues to find out which songs indubitably make us long for summer or remind us of those days gone by. We include Madonna, Katy Perry, Corrinne Bailey Rae, The Go Gos, Tegan and Sara, Gaga, Pink, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and many more. It's a nearly definitive playlist for the lesbian in us all. 

While Memorial Day officially rings in the summer, Fourth of July weekend marks the season in full swing, and what is summer without a soundtrack? From folk anthems to impossibly catchy pop tunes, we've polled our friends and colleagues to find out which songs indubitably make us long for summer or remind us of those days gone by. 

We could have culled endless summer songs by male artists but since we are SheWired, we shine a light on the ladies --including female fronted bands -- who've come to embody our summers past and present. 

However, we would like to give a shout out to the men -- many from the 70's era -- who might have made our list, including Alice Cooper's "School's Out," The Eagles "Take it Easy," Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze," Glen Frey's theme from Thelma and Louise, "Part of Me, Part of You," Will Smith's "Summertime" and just about anything by The Cars. 

Here's our collective summer playlist spanning from 1965 to 2009.  While comprehensive, our collection is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to share your favorite summer song below! 


"I Kissed a Girl" – Katy Perry

Love it or hate it, Katy Perry's paean to kissing a girl for the hell of it became the summer song of 2008! 

"August"  - Rilo Kiley

Fronted by former child actress and easy on the eyes Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley's "August" is a lazy-hazy days of summer song, perfect for reclining under a tree and reading a book amidst a summer breeze. 

"Summer Fling" – k.d. Lang

It's k.d.s honey-toned voice in an upbeat homage to fleeting summer love, replete with a video boasting tousled sex hair, empty beer bottles and running along a sandy beach...a truly quintessential summer song. 

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"That’s Not My Name" – The Ting Tings

Upbeat, catchy, infectious and permeating the airwaves. The Ting Tings were the breakout hit of summer 2009! 

"So What" – Pink

Pink's break-up inspired song of independence ruled the airwaves at the end of summer 2008, culminating with an incendiary, smokin' performance at the MTV Video Awards. 

"Since U Been Gone" – Kelly Clarkson

The original Idol's Grammy-winning smash single went to the top of the charts in December of 2004 and stayed there hight on the charts peaking with a fervor in the summer of 2005 becoming a kick-ass summer song played at pride fests and lesbian bars across the country and Europe. 

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"Son of a Preacher Man" – Dusty Springfield

A hit for the ages off of the famed Dusty in Memphis album, the Sapphic-ly inclined British blues icon sang about the joys of forbidden love with the summer release "Son of a Preacher Man."

"Work It" – Missy Elliot

Famous for bringing "badonkadonk" into the vernacular, "Work It" got a whole lot of asses moving. It was released in the fall of 2002 but by summer 2003, it was pumping out of car stereos stuck in beach traffic up and down both coasts. 

"Vacation" – The Go Gos

Pure eighties bubblegum pop! Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin and the girls waterskiing in showgirl costumes. Need we say more?

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"Unwritten" – Natasha Bedingfield

Hands down, the best "driving to nowhere with your windows down, music blasting, singing along with your friends just because its summer and you can," song.

"These Are the Days" – 10,000 Maniacs

!0,000 Maniacs released its final album, Our Time in Eden, in the fall of 1992 but the Natalie Merchant's homage to embracing the present perfectly captures that feeling of wanting to dig in and grab hold to waning summer days. 

"Cruel Summer" – Bananarama

A pop tune that epitomized those fleeting months of freedom between school years. It's youthful rebellion complete with 80's era overalls, truckers and banana peels.

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"Summer Nights" – John Travolta/Olivia Newton John

Who can forget their first brush with "Summer Nights" from the hit '78 film Grease? Whether you identified with Danny Zuko's bad boy or Olivia Newton John's goody-two-shoes interpretation of a summer romance, it's become a fave for the ages. 

"Summer Nights" – Marianne Faithfull

Model, singer and muse to many a 60's rocker, Marianne Faithfull embraced a London mod version of summer in this, the first "Summer Nights," released in 1965. 

"Borderline" – Madonnna

One of her first hits, Madonna embraced the freedom of lazy summer days dancing in a junked-out lot in New York City in a wonderful ode to hanging out. 

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"Summertime" - Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, The Sundays

A Gershwin standard that got a Janis Joplin hard rock/blues makeover that made it an instant classic for her era, "Summertime" was famously recorded by the legendary Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. For an alternative version there is also The Sundays catchy interpretation.

"Walking on Sunshine" – Katrina and the Waves

Not much says summer more than walking on sunshine. Katrina and the Waves' ubiquitous mega-hit topped charts in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. when it was released in 1985. 

"Put Your Records On" – Corinne Bailey Rae

A breakout artist of 2006, Corrinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On," is a laid-back sweet summertime groove. The video has Rae riding a vintage bicycle, basket and all, down a long and lazy road. It makes you want to find a bike with a banana seat and join her. 

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"Closer to Fine" – Indigo Girls

The folk duo's breakthrough self-titled album dropped in February 1989, giving it several months to gain momentum on indie and college radio stations until its acoustic guitar and harmony heavy single "Closer to Fine"  became an anthem for disaffected youth and folk music lovers. It's a classic road tune (whether you admit to singing it at the top of your lungs when you're alone or not).

"Ice Cream" – Sarah McLachlan

What spells summer more than sex and ice cream? Sarah McLachlan's 1993 album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy put her on the mainstream map. And while the record came out in the fall, it stayed hot well into the following summer with "Ice Cream" standing out as a whimsical favorite single.

"Ironic" – Alanis Morrissette

Jagged Little Pill was released in the winter of 1995 and by the time summer peaked every girl in North America was debating what was or wasn't actually "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette's definition.

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"32 Flavors" – Ani DiFranco

Every bi, gay or disaffected girl of an era clung to Ani Difranco's feminist rants and melodies. A pinnacle of her heyday, she released I am Not a Pretty Girl in the summer of 95 and "32 Flavors" (another ice cream song of sorts), became the breakout hit that spoke to so many women.

"California" – Joni Mitchell

Off of Joni Mitchell's iconic album Blue, "California" is the kind of song that makes you long to get in the car and take a long summer road trip blasting her heartfelt lyrics all the way to the Golden State -- if you don't already live there. 

 "All I Wanna Do" – Sheryl Crow

"All I wanna do is have some fun, I got a feeling I'm not the only one, " all day, every day all summer long....

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"Back in Your Head" – Tegan and Sara

Adorable lesbian sisters singing catchy and fun pop ditties off of their July 2007 release The Con... Add some sunlight and a cold beer and that's pretty much a perfect summer day. 

"Fastcar" – Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman's self-titled album dropped in the spring of 2007 and by that summer her acoustic, pseudo-feminist anthem to walking out of a bad relationship -- so different from the new wave, big-hair band and bubblegum pop music of the day -- became a summer, roll the windows down and sing through your moonroof kind of anthem.  

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" – Cyndi Lauper

Do we really need an explanation for this one?

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"Folding Chair" – Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor's "Folding Chair" from last year's June release Far is sweet, simple, and the ultimate summer song. In just over three minutes, Regina manages to take the listener to a peaceful beach complete with a breeze, frothy waves, and even a dolphin impersonation provided by Regina herself. As it turns out, the ideal summer isn't quite as perfect as it seems, but Regina's beautifully natural voice carries such a hopeful optimism that anything seems possible -- Rebekah Allen

"Just Dance" – Lady Gaga

Breaking onto the pop scene with a Madonna-esque presence, nothing says summer fun like a good dance song by a mysteriously cool and eccentric star (who is an ardent supporter of LGBT equality).

"American Honey" – Lady Antebellum

"Oh, nothing's sweeter than summertime and American Honey," according to Lady Antebellum in this country ode to a good ole' southern girl. 

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