9 Greatest Summer Albums

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Well, it’s finally happened. Despite all our worries, summer has finally arrived. In Canada summer is too precious a thing to take for granted and we know how to make the most of our warmer months. So get your celebrations started. Fire up the barbeque, hit the beach and crank some tunes.

Of course, no ordinary music will suit the summer vibe, you need to find the music that fits the laid-back, good-time feeling that makes summer so enjoyable. The perfect summer music combines a relaxed, hang-out feel with some party atmosphere thrown in. And if you can add a little nostalgia to it that reminds you of the summers of your youth, then you found the perfect summer album.

It’s not easy task to find the right summer album but luckily we can help guide you in the direction of some classic gems that will help start your summer off right.

Back in Black (1980)

AC/DC is synonymous with the hard-partying image of rock and roll bands of the 70s and 80s and Back in Black was the album that cemented that image. The album came at a particularly dark period for the band, as their lead vocalist Bon Scott had just passed away and they were attempting to rebuild with new lead singer, Brian Johnson. Despite the melancholy origins, the band was focused on creating an all-killer-no-filler rock and roll album for the ages and they succeeded. Back in Black has gone on to provide a soundtrack to many summer nights’ parties.

Best songs: “Shoot to Thrill”, “Back in Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

The Dock of the Bay (1968)

Not all summer music has to have the high-energy pulse of AC/DC. If you’re in more of a mellow, relaxing mood, you could scarcely do better than Otis Redding’s biggest hit. Sadly, this too has a tragic history as Redding recorded it just days before dying in a plane crash. Yet his soulful, easy-going voice can’t help but relax you. The perfect album for a quiet day on the porch.

Best songs: “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, “The Glory of Love”, “Ole Man Trouble”.

Raising Hell (1986)

While relaxing is all well and fine on some summer days, you do need the occasion dance music to liven up the weekends. Run DMC is just the group to get a party bouncing. The group brought hip-hop music to the mainstream in a big way when most thought it was just a fad. And Raising Hell, their third album, was a triumph of new and exciting music.

Best songs: “It’s Tricky”, “Walk This Way”, “You Be Illin”.

After the Gold Rush (1970)

What says Canadian summer more than Neil Young? Our national folk-singing treasure has plenty of classic albums to play over your summer adventures, but his third studio album was a smooth and gentle collection of some of his greatest hits. Neil has rarely let us down.

Best songs: “After the Gold Rush”, “Southern Man”, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

When we talk about nostalgia through music, it’s quite impossible not to think about The Beatles. For people of all ages, the group’s music is so distinct and influential that you can’t help but stamp it into your memories. This album no doubt is featured in quite a few memories. Rolling Stone called it the greatest album of all time. But as luck would have it, it’s a pretty fine summer album too.

Best songs: “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

Born in the U.S.A (1984)

Springsteen isn’t only one of America’s best musicians, he’s also one of the best storytellers. His songs are often a very real and relatable look into the lives of regular Americans and he’s not afraid to manipulate a good helping of nostalgia. Born in the U.S.A is a collection of some of his greatest stories and ones we’ll be sharing for years to come.

Best songs: “Glory Days”, “Dancing in the Dark”, “Going Down”.

Purple Rain (1984)

When Prince dies earlier this year, someone put the world’s sadness in perspective by acknowledging that out of the thousands of years of human existence, we were lucky enough to be alive when Prince was making music. It certainly was a privilege to hear the work of a true genius. He knew how to get a party started and Purple Rain will always be one of the greatest good-time records ever.

Best songs: “When Doves Cry”, “Purple Rain”, “Let’s Go Crazy”.

Moondance (1970)

Van Morrison is a pretty awesome character. He’s a true showman yet he fits along side all those brilliant singer-songwriters of his time. This album is Morrison at his best; a lyricist with depth, a crooner of epic tunes, and the chill voice for low-key tracks. “And it Stoned Me” remains possibly the most underrated summer song of all time.

Best songs: “And it Stoned Me”, “Caravan”, “Crazy Love”.

Sounds of Summer (2003)

Of course the Beach Boys were going to make the list. Were you ever truly doubting it? You made see this as a bit of a cheat since it is a ‘best of’ album, but it’s impossible not to listen to these hits and not thing of the summer. There’s all the surfin’ classics that gave the Beach Boys their name as well as the more mature and brilliant songs that made them icons.

Best songs: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “I Get Around”, “Don’t Worry Baby”.

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