It took waaayy too long, but Spring officially showed up and in our neck of the woods, everything is slowly getting warmer. But not warm enough for me. I want summer and I want it NOW! But since Mother Nature doesn’t listen to me anymore (it’s a long sad story), we’ll just have to make summer happen right here. This week’s five questions are all about summer and every one of these songs made the Top Ten in their respective years. As an added plus, all the answers have the word ‘summer’ in the title. Once you’ve got a taste for summer, it’ll get you in the mood for spring.
1. The year was 1966. This ‘summer’ song cracked Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart for two weeks in the late summer. Despite charting 12 songs in the Hot 100 from 1962 until 1969, this song was his only Top Ten hit. He’s not related to Rod Stewart, although their last names are the same. Can you name the singer as well as his only ‘summer’ Top Ten hit?
2. There’ve been any number of great summer hits – “Summer Wind” which Frank Sinatra took to number 25 in 1966; “Summer Song”, a number 7 hit for Brits Chad & Jeremy in 1964; Paul Anka’s number 11 hit from 1960, “Summer’s Gone” and Canadian orchestra leader and composer Percy Faith’s only number one hit, also from 1960, “Theme From A Summer Place”, but the ‘summer’ song we’re looking for in this question was recorded by a duo from Texas who both played in the group The Champs (“Tequila” was their biggest hit in 1958). These two Texas troubadours had their first charted song on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 chart in 1972. This ‘summer’ hit eventually reached number six. Despite charted a dozen songs on the Hot 100, only two others made the Top Ten and ironically, both of those got to number six as well. They were “Diamond Girl” in ‘73 and 1976’s “Get Closer”. What’s the name of this duo and their ‘summer’ hit song?
3. First it was a successful Broadway play, running from 1972 until 1980 for 3,338 performances, Then in 1978, Hollywood made it into a hit movie starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. OK, you most likely know the name of the play/movie by now, but what was the name of the ‘summer’ song from the movie?
4. This Canadian superstar has been successful on the singles chart with both rock songs and ballads, but he’s also been successful in the movies. Not as an actor, but with writing and recording songs for movies. In fact, all 4 of his # 1 hits were featured in motion pictures. He was born in Kingston, Ontario, but grew up in such countries as Portugal, Austria and Israel. He has homes in England and Vancouver and these days is also a professional photographer. Although he’s never been “Reckless” in his personal life, he did release an album by that name. His ‘summer’ song was a hit in 1985. Can you name this artist and his ‘summer’ song?
5. This performer started his career as a rapper, became quite successful, then branched out into television with his own hit TV series. That turned into a red hot movie career and he became a superstar with hit movies such as “Independence Day”, “Enemy of The State”, “Men In Black” 1,2 and 3, “Bad Boys” 1 and 2 (plus the recently announced “Bad Boys 3”), “Ali” and “I, Robot” among many others. This 1991 ‘summer’ hit had the same title as our very first question, although it was a totally different song. Who’s the rapper/TV/movie star and what’s the name of his and his ‘jazzy’ pal’s ‘summer’ hit?
1. Billy Stewart barely climbed into the Top Ten at # 10 for the first time on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart for the week of August 27th 1966 with “Summertime”. The # 1 song that week was “Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. “Summertime” remained in the # 10 spot for one more week, (September 3rd). The # 1 song for that week was “Sunshine Superman”. Billy Stewart died in a car crash in Smithfield, North Carolina on January 17, 1970, just two months shy of his 33rd birthday.
2. It was June of 1972 when Seals & Crofts’ hit “Summer Breeze” blew up the charts to # 6. Jim Seals and Dash Crofts met when they were both playing in local Texas bands. Although they did became part of The Champs in 1958, it was after “Tequila” had been a hit. The two left the group with Champs guitarist Glen Campbell and formed Glen Campbell and the GC’s. That only lasted a couple of years and everyone went their separate ways. Jim and Dash got back together in the late 1960’s. Both Seals and Crofts are longtime members of the Baha’i faith. Seals & Crofts split up, reunited, then split up again. Their last album together was 2004’s “Traces”.
3. “Grease” was the word and the song in question from “Grease” was “Summer Nights” sung by Olivia Newton-John (who played Sandy) and John Travolta (who played Danny). The song climbed to # 5 in the fall of 1978. Another Newton-John/Travolta duet from “Grease”, “You’re The One That I Want” made it all the way to # 1 and sold over 6 million copies, making it one of the best selling singles of all time. On her own, Olivia took a third “Grease” song, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” to # 3. That one was nominated for an Academy Award in 1979 in the ‘Best Original Song’ category, but lost to “Last Dance” from “Thank God It’s Friday”.
4. It was the summer of ’85, June to be exact, when Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ‘69” first started climbing the singles chart, reaching # 5 on Billboards’ Hot 100 during the last week of August. The song, co-written by Adams and Jim Vallance, was taken from Adams’ 1984 album “Reckless”. Bryan recently completed a Canadian tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his “Reckless” album, and from April 11th until near the end of July, he’ll be touring the U.S.
5. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith warmed up the singles chart in 1991 with their completely ‘fresh’ version of “Summertime”. The credits include 12 separate writers, including Jeff Townes (Jazzy Jeff), Will Smith (The Fresh Prince) and several members of Kool & The Gang. The song, released in May of 1991, came from the duo’s fourth studio album, “Homebase”. It climbed to # 4 on Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart, but made it all the way to # 1 in the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. This version of “Summertime” also won a Grammy Award in 1992 for ‘Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group’.