It's summertime and the living is easy. But whether you're enjoying an early Friday off from work, taking a weekend road trip, or just sitting outside and sipping some rosé, there is one thing every summer needs: music. Be it blasting out of your car or through your earbuds, there's no way you're getting through the summer without a soundtrack. And the key to the perfect hot weather soundtrack is the "song of the summer."
Everyone wants to have the song of the summer. It's that one joint you can't escape, that we all fall in love with and play and replay until it makes us sick. And — this may come a a shock to those of you who thought the Beach Boys or Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" invented the genre — the tradition goes back to at least 1910 (seriously!), when a newspaper first pondered what would be the sound of the summer. (That year, the sound was country.)
There is no doubt, however, that the 2000s and 2010s have been a golden era for songs of the summer. Billboard introduced a Summer Songs chart in 2010 to make it not just an honorary title but an actual competition. Not since the days when Tin Pan Alley and Broadway dominated songwriting in the 1930s to the 1950s have so many great songs been in contention for the coveted title. Take a look back at the songs that encapsulated the summertime vibe for Americans over the last century. You might be surprised to find that some of the old hits are just as catchy as the modern classics.