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Six unforgettable songs for an end-of-summer playlist

Memorable tunes from the past will help keep the sultry season humming along

The summer of ’17 is far from over, but before the season of long hot days begins to fade, embrace the timeless sounds of these classics.


1. Summer Nights

Artists: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

Lyrics we love: “It turned colder; that’s where it ends. So I told her, we’d still be friends. Then we made our true love vow. Wonder what she’s doing now.”

If you were a teenager in 1978, chances are you saw Grease. Hot on the heels of American Graffiti, this blockbuster musical had all the makings of a high-school soap opera. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall head over heels in love, then summer ends and everything goes south. “Summer dreams ripped at the seams,” laments hunky Danny (John Travolta) when back-to-school time arrives, “but, oh, those summer nights!” Belt out these schmaltzy lyrics and embrace your inner teenager all over again.

2. Summer of ’69

Artist: Bryan Adams

Lyrics we love: “When I look back now, that summer seemed to last forever. And if I had the choice, yeah I’d always want to be there. Those were the best days of my life.”

Continue your trip down memory lane with this 1984 megahit from Canadian rocker Bryan Adams. Its ’round-the-clock airplay on radio stations across the globe catapulted the singer to international fame and sent his Reckless album sales into the stratosphere. The single was also voted Canada’s #1 driving song in a 2006 Decima research poll. Take that, Bohemian Rhapsody!

3. Night Moves

Artist: Bob Seger

Lyrics we love: “I woke last night to the sound of thunder. How far off I sat and wondered. Started humming a song from 1962. Ain’t it funny how the night moves?”

“With autumn closing in,” American rocker Bob Seger recalls a steamy summer fling from his youth. After he and his significant other worked out their night moves “in the back seat of his ’60 Chevy,” this red-hot single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. A game changer for Seger, the song elevated the Detroit singer and his Silver Bullet Band to national fame.

4. The Boys of Summer

Artist: Don Henley

Lyrics we love: “Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air. The summer’s out of reach.”

Summer’s definitely winding down in this 1984 song from ex-Eagles drummer Don Henley. The rocker collaborated on this tune with Tom Petty’s guitarist Mike Campbell after Petty famously passed on the music. But it’s Henley’s lyrics that capture our sense of loss at the end of August: lost love, lost youth, not to mention the looming end of another baseball season.

5. Harvest Moon

Artist: Neil Young

Lyrics we love: “I want to see you dance again, because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon.”

Many consider the title track of Neil Young’s Juno Award-winning 1992 album nothing short of a masterpiece. Reflective and restrained, this ode to enduring love marked the musician’s return to the acoustic guitar after a decade of electronic experimentation. Who can resist the singer’s wistful optimism? “It’s getting late and the moon is climbing high. I want to celebrate, see it shining in your eyes.” These words are pure magic to fans and critics of a Canadian icon at his musical best.


6. Under the Boardwalk

Artist: The Drifters

Lyrics we love: “Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby, is where I’ll be.”

Along the shores of a charming seaside town, two lovers find the perfect spot for a romantic tête-à-tête. This soulful R&B classic was first released in 1964 by The Drifters and quickly climbed to #4 on the Billboard chart. After The Rolling Stones, Bette Midler and Bruce Willis produced chart-topping cover versions, Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the top 500 greatest songs of all time. Is this a bit of a stretch for an end-of-summer song? Perhaps. But “when your shoes get so hot, you wish your tired feet were fireproof,” it sure feels like August.