Monday, June 25, 2012

What's on Your Summer Playlist?

ROSEMARY HARRIS: People change their closets when the seasons change.  Some women change their makeup (I used to change my hair color...more gold highlights in the summer, more red in the winter.) Although I swore I never would after seeing my mother do it for years, I change all the curtains, from velvet to cotton.

One of the biggest seasonal changes for me is music. The first time I hear Feliz Navidad in November I love it. By January 6 I'm less feliz about hearing it and I'm ready to pack it away with the Christmas ornaments. And when it gets warm, my playlist changes again.

For me summertime will always mean Coppertone. Potato knishes on the beaches in Brooklyn and Queens - Neponsit, Manhattan Beach, Brighton, Riis Park. Dr Scholl's sandals. Sun-in, which we apparently all tried and hoped that it would create sexy, beachy streaks that didn't turn orange like Jan's did.
Most of my pals stayed in the city for the summer. We took the bus to the beach and got there early to work on our tans. And the music we listened to then takes me back every time I hear it.
In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry, Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family Stone, A Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy. Anything by the Beach Boys.  These songs instantly turn me into a teenager, whether they were new and hits or already moldy oldies by the time I heard them. Anyone remember Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini? See You in September?
Pass the baby oil and iodine! Which songs take you back to the beach?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Not the beach for me, Ro, but the country club swimming pool.  The smell of chlorine, Sea n' Ski, and I Can't Get No Satisfaction on the pool jukebox. The Beach Boys, of course, but probably my fave summer song EVER is Summer in the City by The Loving Spoonful.  Now I've got to go see if it's on my playlist somewhere....

RHYS BOWEN: In England I lived too far from the beach to go with friends (and nobody had cars anyway--driving age 18). It was the un-heated swimming pool that I had to sneak to without my mother knowing, as she'd forbidden me to go there because of polio scares. (the vaccine reached us while I was in middle school but she still didn't trust it)

Beach Boys are the ultimate for me too. And Summer Nights from Grease. And all the silly camp songs we used to sing.

JAN BROGAN: One summer I worked on a disco on the New Jersey Beach, the Surf Club, which I'm pretty sure Snookie et crew from Jersey Shore must frequent or would have frequented when I worked there because I actually remember those people. Anyway, I worked every single day and Friday and Saturday nights. There was a live band that played Heaven Must be Missing an Angel and all those Barry White and KC and the Sunshine Band songs from 4 p.m. on.  I worked there when I was deep into my cowgirl phase (playing a lot of guitar and going to a lot of Eagles, Grateful Dead and Jackson Brown concerts), so I detested the music in an irrational, I-must-remain-loyal-to-my-identity-kind-of-way.  I was anti-disco.  The funny part is, now when I hear that Barry White music, it brings back only the pleasant summer memories.

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh yes, we spent a ton of time at the beach, both the Jersey shore and Hatteras Island off the coast of NC, as my mom was nuts for the ocean. I remember all the songs you're naming, but no one has yet named the pop classic "Red Rubber Ball" sung by the Cyrkle. (And what kind of oddball group name is that anyway??) And who writes those lyrics?
I should have known you'd bid me farewell
There's a lesson to be learned from this and I learned it very well
Now, I know you're not the only starfish in the sea
If I never hear your name again, it's all the same to me

And I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball

John and I were having this discussion recently when I couldn't get "Macarthur Park" out of my head. "Someone left the cake out in the rain...I don't think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe agaiinnnnnn...oh noooooo". Could that be the silliest song ever written?

ROSEMARY: There's always Louie, Louie...that was a pretty dumb song. Wooly Bully?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Well of course the beach boys--Surfer Girl and the silly song called Car Club"-- remember that? And Jan and Dean's Little Deuce Couple "it's got a positraction  clutch with a four on the floor"...whatever that means. And there was Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime..but I won't mention that.
There's an album by Basia that always take me to summer..and how about the Girl from Ipanema?
The fragrance of coconuts and chlorine. How the sun hits you when you get off an airplane  somewhere summery.  Sun mom laid down the law. So..well, she told me it would turn my hair orange.
But! How about iodine and baby oil?

ROSEMARY: Another baby oil and iodine devotee! It's wonder we have any skin left!!


  1. I grew up going to Southern California beaches (Huntington Beach, in particular). In high school we applied cocoa butter and turned every fifteen minutes like a roasted chicken. I keep waiting for the melanoma to show up (seriously).

    Red Rubber Ball! Classic. What about "My Baby Wrote Me a Letter" and "Dancing in the Streets?" So many great songs back then.

  2. Cruel Summer by BananaRama (yes, I'm one of those 80s lovers!) Anything by the Gogos of course.

    There's not a beach for hundreds of miles here in Cincinnati, so it was always a hike to go somewhere with one. So it's always been a manmade pool or just out in the backyard for me.

  3. Sweets for My Sweet by The Drifters; Kansas City by Wilbert Harrison; and shifting decades, Breakdown by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; and 867-5309 by Tommy Tutone. Fun memories!

  4. 867-5309...I didn't recognize that until I said the nuymbers out loud and realized I was singing! yes...Cruel, Cruel Summer.. We got the beat. vacation (was that the video with the singers on waterskis..??)

    Under the Boardwalk...

  5. Jeffrey, I grew up in Hamilton, and our closest "beach" was at Hueston Woods. (Somehow I feel sure Hank has spent some time there, as well.) It was great fun in high school to drive out there with my boyfriend in his powder blue MG Midget with the top down. Who could hear the radio, with all that wind?

    My little sister and I loved Red Rubber Ball, and Summer in the City. She knew all the words before I did, and would sing them even when there was no radio on.

    Fortunately, I hated the sun then, and I really hate it now. Everyone else was basting themselves golden and I looked like I'd been in a sunless basement for the last 15 years. Now I'm pretty happy about my skin, but I sure got grief about my paleness back in the day.

  6. Summer, to me, means Ocean City, Maryland.

    Ahhhhh -

    I want to go. Right now!

    How tempting to throw a few things in a bag, open the car door so Harley can hop in, go shanghai Donald from work and hit the road. Beach Boys and Motown playing on the radio - loudly.

    Thrasher's French Fries on the Boardwalk, another piece of pizza, some Salt Water Taffy from Dolle's Candyland.

    Sand between my toes and waves splashing around my knees.


  7. Well,Roberta/Lucy--you know Paul Simon wrote Red Rubber Ball!

  8. Under the Boardwalk, yes Ro, very summer.

    And how about SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER! (You have to sing it LOUD.)

  9. No way Paul Simon could have written that song!!!

  10. Chilling in late... Edith and I grew up 30 minutes for each other. Malibu Beach and Huntington Beach were great places to body surf. Santa Monica Beach for picking up boys (we could get there by bus). Even then and still I hate sitting out in the sun.

    Summers for me have a Calypso beat. Girl from Ipanema. Anything by Harry Belafonte.

  11. So funny we were in the supermarket this weekend and Red Rubber Ball came on - bopping down the aisles we were (glad our children couldn't see us.)

  12. Hank, you are kidding about Paul Simon and Red Rubber Ball, right? Ack!

  13. I thought Paul Mccartney wrote Red Rubber Ball...must google. hallie, i'm trying to imagine you dancing to calypso music on the beach..I've seen Lucy/Roberta get down at Crimebake.. maybe we should have a beach party. Actually someoen sent me a fun video this week...I'm thinking flash mob at Bouchercon. Who's in?

  14. She's right.

    I WISH I had valued my pale skin back then, it would look a lot better now. But I have always loved the sun. A hedonist at heart, one of the best times in my life was skinny dipping and sunbathing with friends at a quarry outside Bloomington, Indiana in graduate school. Aahh.

  15. Yes, he did! Paul SImon! Google away..xoo

  16. You Sexy Thing, by Hot Chocolate, Jive Talkin', the Bee Gees, Chevy Van from Sammy Johns--I think.

    Rosemary, as soon as I read iodine and baby oil I could smell the combination. It's the smell I associate with my best friend from junior high--who believe it or not, looks much younger than our age, even with all the sunbathing.

  17. Rubber Ball -- 1960 hit by Bobby Vee

    Red Rubber Ball -- 1966 by the Cyrcle, who used to open for Paul Simon's show and asked to record his song.

    Two completely different songs. I was confused and had to look them up. U2Lucy?

  18. Oh, Rubber Ball is: Like a rubber ball I'll come bouncin' back to you...The brilliant (!) chorus was: Bouncy bouncy, bouncy bouncy.

    A terrible song, which now I'm singing, thanks Jack. :-)

    The wonderful Red Rubber Ball is: Guess it's gonna be all right, guess the worst is over now the morning sun is shining like a RED RUBBER BALL! Which is lovely..and now has replaced bouncy bouncy.

  19. I love the idea of a flash mob at Bouchercon... Everyone shows up in the hotel lobby with magnifying glasses and looks for clues.

  20. You all are so great.Now I'm remembering Jones Beach, the rest of Long Island, and See you in September, and what is the song that is da da On a Sunday Afternoon?

  21. Lazing on a sunny afternooooooon, in summertime, in summertime. The Kinks

  22. Well, I've been wrong once today..I'll defer to Hank! (..but it could have been The Kinks.)

  23. Oh, I thought it was the Young Rascals, Groovin, on a sunday afternoon..really, couldnt get away too no no no...

    There IS a Kinks song,though..trying to bring it back to my head.

  24. Driving through Denmark one chilly summer, Scout and I stopped at a gas mart. I went in to grab a cold drink. There, staring back at me were a pile of Beach Boys CDs. I bought one of course, and we sang along all through Germany and into Poland. We felt warmer somehow.

  25. Thank you, I'm going to have to do some research on this. Anyway, I like your posts.

  26. Ok, thanks to iTunes-The song by the Young Rascals is Groovin' (on a Sunday Afternoon). The song by the Kinks is Lazin' on a Sunny Afternoon. I may be dating myself but the Kinks were cool.

  27. Oh ro I'm remembering me help me help me fade away ...I've got no good reason why I've got to stay .. That's the mild sing, right? In the summertime..

  28. The iPhone changed Kinks to mild... Sigh . My photographer and I are now singing in the news
    Van..Lazing on a sunny afternoon!

  29. Then there's Summer in the City by the Lovin' Spoonful... sang along with that more than once in Boston.

  30. Enjoying this post tremendously today! I've been singing to myself since lunchtime!

    As someone who came of age in the sixties, I miss those summertime songs. With all the back and forth today ("were these the words?" "was that the song?"), I was reminded of an intense conversation in the autumn of 1967,when I was a freshman in college. My roommates and I wracked our brains trying to remember the words and title of a particular song that had been popular a couple of years earlier. All we could agree on was what song it was NOT! We sure could have used all the collective brain power here today! (And if only one of you would bring it up, maybe it would jog my memory!)

  31.'ve thrown down the gauntlet! Give us some or solo's not Louie, Louie?

  32. So many songs . . . The Beach Boys: "California Girls" . . . Petula Clark: "Downtown" and "I Know A Place" . . . Righteous Brothers: "Unchained Melody" . . . Lovin' Spoonful: "Do You Believe In Magic?"

  33. Lucky for me - I think - that I'm having insomnia and decided to take a peek at JRW for a few minutes. So:the song that we tried to remember was NOT the one with the words "run run run run runaway,my little runaway" -or something like that. But there was something about running or a runaway or running away. (Can you see why we were all confused?!) I think, but am not sure, that it was a solo singer. It was a male, and I think he had a high-pitched voice.
    So if anyone out there is still awake, maybe someone out west, does any of this make sense to you? I will now go to bed and try once again to sleep and I'll check back again in the morning. Maybe what this mystery needs is a bunch of mystery writers and readers putting their heads together?!

  34. Deb--Del Shannon "Runaway"--great song!

    And as I roll along I wonder
    what went wrong
    with our love, our love that was so strong little runaway, run run run run runaway...

  35. Deb? Are you thinking of Jefferson Starship's "Runaway?"

  36. Hank...Del Shannon'ss song is the one it is NOT...and I do love that song! It was a similar voice and style,though. Still wondering what it could have been...

    Reine...I didn't think Jefferson Starship was around until the seventies! I doubt that it was theirs...I'm pretty sure it was a sole male performer. The style was very Shannon-like.

    Oh my poor brain! And to think I forgot this way back in the 1960s when I supposedly still had some brain power!

  37. Oh... the 60s, Deb... . It does meet the other requirements, though.