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Rob Sheffield's Coolest Summer Jams

Sweat to Rob's playlist of summer songs, from "Summertime Blues" to "Call Me Maybe"

July 19, 2012 3:00 PM ET

These are the songs that rocked their radio sumer, or just evoke the hazy thrill of beaches, sweaty house parties, roller-disco bar mitzvahs, dazed guitar-freak blowouts, backstreet boomboxes, that gin-and-juice barbecue that went horribly wrong when everyone got naked to "Hot in Herre." It happens. We're not here to judge. We're just here for the summer jams. Rock, pop, hip-hop, disco, funk, soul, punk, crunk, metal – it's all fun in the sun. So let's twist again like we did last summer. And like we already know we will next summer.

Scroll through our playlist of 50 songs and listen to them on Spotify.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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