Best Summer Songs of All Time – Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Lists

Best Summer Songs of All Time

School’s out, and it’s time to get down, get sunburned and get lucky

Best Summer Songs

Blondie, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer

Brian Cooke/Redferns, Rob Verhorst/Redferns, Michael Putland/Getty Images

The summer song is one of rock’s truest pleasures, be it a dance jam that dominates every backyard cookout or a sweet ode to cars, girls and partying at the beach. Here are our picks for the most sizzling summer jams ever – from unshakeable oldies to classic hip-hop, from hard-rock to indie-rock, from the Go-Gos to Daft Punk. School’s out, and it’s time to get down, get sunburned and get lucky.

Alice Cooper
3

“School’s Out,” Alice Cooper

"The few minutes waiting for that final school bell to ring are so intense that when it happens, it's almost orgasmic," said Alice Cooper. Released in May 1972, this instantly became the go-to anthem for kids who really really hate school and, no matter how old you are, it can still make you want to throw your papers in the air and run out into the blinding sun of the heavy metal parking lot.

Eddie Cochran
2

“Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran

"There had been a lot of songs about summer, but none about the hardships of summer," co-writer Jerry Capehart, who was Eddie Cochran's manager, said of "Summertime Blues." The 1958 rockabilly raver tapped into suburban teen boredom and angst, blazing a trail toward heavy and metal and punk by making edgy, bound-up energy seem thrilling. Years later, thunderbolt covers by the Who and Blue Cheer would make its trailblazing hard-rock legacy explicit.

Martha and the Vandellas
1

“Dancing In The Street,” Martha & The Vandellas

The ultimate invitation to get outside and cut loose, "Dancing In the Street" reinvents the world as a giant summertime block party. Co-written by Marvin Gaye, it has the greatest party-jam lyrics ever written and the drums hit like a gunshot. Martha Reeves sounds like she's doing more than just kick off a party – she sounds like she's starting a revolution.

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.