Top 10 Summertime Songs Of The 1970s Rare Choices Version

Summer songs of the 1970s

Photo: Brian Kachejian⌐ 2019

Our top 10 summer-themed summertime songs of the 1970s list takes a look at the best summertime songs released in the 1970s classic rock era that usually don’t end up on all the other summertime songs lists. This list only includes songs released during the summers of the 1970s that have a summertime focus. Songs that were huge hits during the summers of the 1970s but were not focused on summertime concepts were not included on this list. This one is all about summer in the 70s.

The comparisons between being a teenager growing up in the 1970s and those who are now growing up in the twenty first century is so unbelievably different as we all know. Kids growing up in the 60s 70s and even early 80s have nowhere near the distractions that young people have now. With no cell phones, no internet, and no instant video on a TV. All we had was the radio and our record players for entertainment. We were free from the addictive nature of the cell phone. Dick Tracy was just a cartoon. We never imagined his talking watch would come true.

Summers in the 1970s were a time of freedom. A time away from school, books, pencils, pens, erasers, and those annoying teachers to quote Alice Cooper. We spend our time driving the car listening to the radio or 8-track players and cassette decks just taking in these great summertime songs. We headed to the beaches, movies, parks, malls, cities, all places with people, conversations, and much more. We looked at each other we talked to each other, we listened to each other, we enjoyed the same music or at least argued about it.

Nowadays kids don’t talk to each other, for the most part, they just text each other, play video games, send Snapchat pictures, and watch YouTube. None of them learn instruments, with few exceptions as music is really not the center of their lives like it was ours. For us, these songs resonate deeply. They bring us back in time. It’s amazing and so true how these songs were such a part of our lives in the 1970s.

Now most top 10 summertime songs lists of the 1970s all contain the same tracks like Alice Cooper’s  School’s Out, just about every Beach Boys song, Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze,” Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime,” John Sebastian’s “Summer In The City,” The Motels “Suddenly Last Summer,” Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” etc… All great songs but all obvious choices. Let’s dig a little deeper into our past summers of the 1970s. The ones we have listed here were special songs. They were all released during the summertime and they all have some sort of connection to Summer. Remember When…….

# 10 – Racing In The Street

Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Street,” song was released on the Darkness on the Edge of Town album early summer 1978. While this one may not actually utilize the word summer in the lyrics the song was all about coming home from work ad heading out into the streets for a little racing on those hot summer nights. Played this one all throughout the summer of 1978.

# 9 – Out In The Country

The classic Three Dog Night song “Out In The Country,” was released in August of 1970. The song was released on the album It Ain’t Easy. It was written by Paul Williams. Can you smell the fresh county summer air? You know you remember it.

# 8 – Come Sail Away

One of our favorite Styx songs was released during the summer of 1977. “Come Sail Away,” was a huge hit. The song was released on their best album entitled The Grand Illusion. 

# 7 – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Elton John’s powerhouse ballad “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” was released on the album Caribou. The record was released in June of 1974. They never stopped playing this one on the radio that summer of 74.

# 6 – Let’s Go

Summertime is not just about the beautiful summertime days, it is about the nightlife baby, so Let’s Go. This classic song by The Cars was released in June of 1979.

# 5 – Summerside Of Life

The sleeper of the list, but one of the best. Everyone knows Gordon Lightfoot from his big hits like “Sundown,” and “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Nonetheless, the “Summer side of Life,” was one of his best. This great song was released during the summer of 1971. Ruined my needle playing this one over and over.

# 4 – Miracles

Jefferson Starship released the album Red Octopus in June of 1975. The single “Miracle,” sung by Marty Balin and Grace Slick dominated the radio during that summer. I have no idea if the song was about the summer, all I know is whenever I hear it, I  remember that summer of 1975 so vividly. I am sure you do too. Made an exception for this one.

# 3 – Like A Hurricane

Neil Young’s great album American Stars ‘n Bars was released around Memorial Day at the start of the summer of 1977. Played the song “Like A Hurricane,” all summer long on cassette. There was nothing like listening to Neil Young in the summertime.

# 2 – Jungleland

Jungleland was the epic closing track on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run album. It was released during the summer of 1975 in the month of August. The take of the magic rat and the “barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain,” is a summertime image that is unforgettable.

# 1 – Free Bird

I know what you are thinking, why didn’t I think of this one? If summer doesn’t mean freedom then you must be a lifeguard.  Sorry bad joke. The all-time classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song was released in August 1973. Yes, we know it’s about a guy and girl and the issue of commitment, or maybe it’s not. When do we usually leave? We leave in the summertime.

Updated June 6, 2023

Top 10 Summertime Songs Of The 1970s Rare Choices Version article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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