50 Greatest Summer Anthems – Chosen By Foo Fighters, Florence + The Machine And More

Shades out, shorts on, crank up the barbie rock. Festival season is go, so here’s rock A-listers on the songs that get them hot under the collar…

50 ‘Too Hot’ – Prince Buster

“I don’t know where the fuck it is now, but I used to have this Prince Buster CD of all the best singles. I remember a friend of mine had this Land Rover and he parked it in the middle of the beach and turned the stereo up and we just had Prince Buster all night long on the beach. And that’s one of my favourite summer music experiences. Then the tide came in and he was too wasted to move the Land Rover.” Chosen by Thom Yorke, Radiohead

49 ‘Summer’s On Its Way’ – Paul Buchanan


“Paul Buchanan was a singer in The Blue Nile, and he did a solo record [2012’s ‘Mid Air’] with a song called ‘Summer’s On Its Way’. It’s a beautiful track and the fact it’s got summer in the title probably ties it in quite well. The first line of it is: ‘Summer’s On Its Way/Like a millionaire/All the life you want/Living over there’. I like the idea that you see summer coming and everything’s going to be better but it’s not necessarily. As a song, it’s just a piano and a vocal so it’s really simple but you have to read between the lines.

48 ‘Jubilee Street’ – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

“I think this was the song that summed up the last summer I had. That was the summer that I was writing ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’. It’s not very summery in a way, but it’s so beautiful, it’s like something just opening out, but I don’t think it’s particularly summery. I would probably still try to put it on at a barbecue, though. That does happen. I’m like, ‘Can we just listen to Nick?’ and everyone’s like, ‘No! Like, come on!’ So yeah, I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask for light, summery tracks.

47 ‘Plastic Man’ – The Kinks

“Whenever we’re on tour or if I’m in a car with friends, there’s no better soundtrack than a ‘Best Of…’ by The Kinks. Especially when the sun’s out. It feels like their music only exists in sunshine. Beginning in spring with tracks like ‘Days’ or ‘Wonderboy’ and setting on ‘Autumn Almanac’. But tracks like ‘Plastic Man’ remind me of summer. I have countless memories of screaming word for word every lyric, in various vehicles on various motorways with the same few friends. It’s full of joy and humour and it’s backed up with some badass musicianship.

46 ‘Don’t You Want Me’ – The Human League


“When I think about what a summer song is, at first, I think of something celebratory and up – but that’s not quite really it, because I’ve dug some incredible summer songs that weren’t. But it defiantly has to have a phat groove. It’s not about Enya in the summertime, you know what I mean? For example, ‘Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League reminds me of the days of Danceteria, New York. I lived on the Lower East Side, at 4th and B, in a tenement apartment.

45 ‘She Bangs The Drums’ – The Stone Roses

“That whole album, best summer ever, mad for it.” Chosen by Liam Gallagher

44 ‘Summertime’ – DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince

“Is ‘Little Old Wine Drinker, Me’ by Dean Martin a summer song? Either that or Jazzy Jeff and the fucking Fresh Prince of Bellend, that ‘Summertime’ tune they did together. Or that first Snoop Dogg album is quite summery, isn’t it? We’ll go with the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff one – I remember when that first came out, because we were prancing around Amsterdam quite a lot at the time, and it always seemed to be on, wherever you went. It brings back some good vibes and good memories from back then.” Chosen by Shaun Ryder


43 ’Boogie In The Park’ – Joe Hill Louis

“We love this song ‘cos it’s hotter than a Memphis summer.” Chosen by The Black Keys

42 ‘Margaritaville’ – Jimmy Buffett

“It reminds me of going to Florida with my parents in the 70’s. Those were great times. They would leave me at the pool while they’d go to the bar and drink mai tais. They had kids already so they couldn’t really live up to the wild, swinging ways of Jimmy Buffett. He’s got a thing going, Buffett. He’s pretty cheesy.” Chosen by Stephen Malkmus

41 ‘On A Level’ – Wiley

“I’m not a summery kind of person, but at the minute, I’m listening to Wiley’s last album [Snakes & Ladders]. The first single from it, ‘On A Level’ is absolutely brilliant. It’s just really English – kind of smack, smack, smack. In a way, it’s quite crap but it’s not; it works and it’s funny. It’s very cool and quite perfect. I’d not really been exposed to much of Wiley’s stuff apart from the obvious Roll Deep stuff when it was in the charts, so I’m going to check out his back catalogue. I also want to buy Skepta [who produced ‘On A Level’]’s new album and I’m caning Joey Bada$$’s latest.

40 ‘Mister Sandman’ – Roland Cadermark

“A true summer classic, makes me wanna throw everything on the grill and have an everlasting barbecue. I’m usually not too keen on accordion music, but this track… oh, such speed, feeling and precision. Pay extra attention to the guitarist, who’s either in complete control or very off. To be enjoyed with a slight sunburn and plenty of grub.” Chosen by Svein Berge, Royksopp

39 ‘Fantastic Man’ – William Onyeabor

“He’s a Nigerian artist that was around in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. There’s been a lot of remixes that have turned people on to his music recently and Damon Albarn and David Byrne performed his stuff live last year. It’s like a mixture of traditional African afrocentric sounds and Kraftwerk. It’s interesting. There’s deeply political messages contained in these simple, exciting pop songs. You should check out songs like ‘Fantastic Man’, ‘Good Name’ and ‘When The Going Is Smooth & Good’. There’s a fascinating 30-minute documentary about his life [‘Fantastic Man’] on YouTube.

38 ‘Going Up The Country’ – Canned Heat

“It’s a classic one, the perfect summer song, something that makes you think of warm weather and travelling.” Chosen by Goat

37 ’The Adventure And The Resolution’ – Frank Black

“This is one of the most bas-ass songs I know. No vocals except for some soft ‘ooh’-ing. It’s got an amazingly sinister and sexy vibe and it will give you a rush if you listen to it driving fast on a summer night.” Chosen by Paul Banks, Interpol

36 ‘Friends’ – Led Zeppelin

“I discovered Led Zeppelin when I was 14 years old when I went to a friend’s house who had a couple of older brothers who were working on classic cars all the time. They lived on a farm and had a bunch of Mustangs and muscle cars like Chargers. They had this rickety old barn and we would hang out.


35 ‘Bonkers’ – Dizzee Rascal

“For those moments where people go absolutely crazy it’s all about the big, grime hits. I don’t like playing too much grime but there are always a couple of tunes that are just absolute monsters. The Giggs verse on ‘Man Don’t Care’, which is on the JME album – that goes off. Also, the [Dizzee Rascal] ‘Bonkers’ thing is always fantastic.” Chosen by Mike Skinner

34 ‘On The Regular’ – Shamir

“I think it might be a summer song this year. It feels really fresh and it’s original and the energy’s really good. The reason I think about it is because it feels like a very uplifting and optimistic song – I’m not talking about lyrically, just musically it really puts you in a good mood which is what I like from a summer anthem. I love that video too. I saw one YouTube performance from him on Le Grand Journal [French news magazine show] which was really cool. It felt like an alien had landed – which is always a cool thing.” Chosen by Alex Kapranos, FFS, Franz Ferdinand

33 ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ – The Byrds

“I remember that song from the summer of ’67: that and Love’s album ‘Forever Changes’ as well. What make it so great? Well I was young. When you’re young, you’re free, you’ve got nothing to worry about, every summer’s a great summer.” Chosen by Lemmy, Motorhead


32 ‘I Left My Wallet In El Segundo’ – A Tribe Called Quest

“This reminds of summer 2012 when I would film me and my mates skating around in Essex. The sun was shining for once and I remember I stole a flip camera from school and made the fisheye for it out of a peephole. When I was editing the film I chose this song as one of the lead tracks for the video – It was a real scummy sunny summer and that video probably won’t ever see the light of day, maybe one day. It’s got random footage of my mates eating crickets and washing it down with red stripe. It was also the summer I lost my virginity.

31 ‘Summer Dress’ – Red House Painters

“The languorous pace evokes the image of an ocean sunset. The song always reminds me of a hot day walking around my hometown with my teenage crush, feeling like my world was just about to begin.” Chosen by Paul Smith, Maximo Park

30 ‘Hot In Herre’ – Nelly

“It’s amazing. Sometimes I listen to it and think’ ‘God, we haven’t got a song as good as that.’” Chosen by Chris Martin, Coldplay

29 ‘In The Summertime’ – Mungo Jerry

“It’s literally a song about drinking and driving and how great it is! It’s such a great time capsule for an era that has passed and will not be again. Look up the lyrics on the internet and just read them – don’t listen to the song – and it’s like, ‘Oh my God’. I feel similar about that song as I do about ‘Brown Sugar’ by The Rolling Stones – when you actually read the lyrics, you can’t believe that’s what the song is about. It’s great. The song sounds like you’re sitting outside enjoying the weather. Everything about it. It sounds like I’m on a patio and it sounds like there’s beer.

28 ‘We Want Some Pussy’ – Luke Skywalker & 2 Live Crew

“Those guys created the soundtrack to summer for me. I would say that anyone who requires an explanation as to why that song ranks so high is obviously a moron!” Chosen by Killer Mike, Run The Jewels


27 ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ – The Police

“I’ve been listening to The Police’s first record a lot recently and it’s almost summer – or at least, the weather’s been getting warmer and I’ve been blasting ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ all the time. No one song in particular, just the whole album. I recently moved a record player into my house upstate, so I’ve been going through records a lot, and my wife kept on flipping that one over and over again, then I started flipping it over and over again, so it’s become the album that’s on repeat in my house for hours, or even days, at a time.” Chosen by Albert Hammond Jr.

26 ‘Undertow’ – Tool

“We were on tour with Tool for Lollapalooza ’93. They were one of my favourite bands in the world and we played with them every day. We were on first and RATM was just beginning to break in the States and we had loads of adventures. Every day I would do see Tool’s set from the side of the stage ‘cos I thought they were just awesome.” Chosen by Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine


25 ‘Debaser’ – Pixies

“The last two summers have been all about ‘Debaser’ by the Pixies. I just connect that bassline and guitar to being in a car when it’s blisteringly hot, windows down, just blasting it out at full volume. It’s such an epic feel-good song and you can scream it. We saw them last festival season – we were on the same bill at Best Kept Secret in Europe – and when they played that track, it sounded like a proper festival moment. Even though it’s quite a leftfield track for a summer festival, it brings out the euphoric summer vibes when I hear it.” Chosen by Kieran Shudall, Circa Waves

24 ’93 til Infinity’ – Souls Of Mischief

“It’s a total hip hop classic of that era with a real summery feel to it and it has the lyric ‘Maui Maui, good vibrations/ So many females, so much inspiration’ which is a pretty great couplet. The moment I hear it, it makes me wanna go down to the basketball court. They’re from Oakland and it’s got this West Coast, early 90s feel and I’m a sucker for that era of music. A lot of it’s in the backing track and the samples they used, but that song more than any other makes me wanna grab a Solero and put a pair of shorts on.” Chosen by Yannis Philippakis, Foals

23 ‘Summer Madness’ – Kool And The Gang

“I remember hearing this for the first time and thinking ‘that sounds familiar’, well its the main sample in Will Smith & Jazzy Jeff’s ‘Summertime’ hit. It’s a hazy, synthy, laid-back instrumental that oozes that sense of warm sunshine on your body, cold drink in hand and feet in the swimming pool. Unlike most of Kool & The Gang’s tracks this has no vocal or sing-along chorus, its one of those tracks that you wish kept going and going when the needle hits reaches the middle of the record.” Chosen by Frankie Francis, Frankie And The Heartstrings

22 ’That Summer Feeling’ – Richman And The Modern Lovers

“It’s a really summery, happy sounding record, but it’s actually one of the saddest songs that I’ve ever heard. The chorus goes on about how ‘that summer feeling’s gunna haunt you for the rest of your life’, it talks about all the great things about summer, but how nothing in your life will compare to them. The only other summer jam that I could think of is ‘Hot in Here’ which is pretty different. I reckon if you listen to them together you’ll be alright. In a mash-up or something!” Chosen by James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem

21 ‘September’ – Earth, Wind & Fire

“Ironically, ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire is the perfect song for dancing in the hot weather. It makes no sense, but at the same time it feels like a really vibrant, funny, exciting summer tune. The lyrics are ‘do you remember/dancing in September/never was a cloudy day’, which doesn’t feel suited to autumn. It just feels like it’s uplifting and it’s full of positivity. Earth, Wind & Fire pretty much epitomises everything Rudimental is about” Chosen by DJ Locksmith (Leon Rolle), Rudimental

20 ‘Live Forever/Slide Away’ – Oasis

“That time when ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Slide Away’ came out was just so exciting and the music enhanced it all so much. I was in Ride then, we were just splitting up, and my life was getting kinda empty that way. Often we’d go on a road trip and all we’d need was the Oasis tape and a stereo. We’d stick it on, drink loads of vodka then go out to a club where they’d be playing it too. It was just always there.” Chosen by Andy Bell, Ride

19 ‘Let The Music Play’ – Shannon

Karen O: “It’s nostalgic for me, I used to rollerskate to it at the local rink. Now as a grown woman I still can’t unlock the mysterious, maze-like groove that gets me going, if you know what I mean.”
Nick Zinner: “Once, when I was a little kid attempting to rollerskate to this song a little plump boy, mistaking me for a girl, asked me to skate with him. It took until I was old enough to get into bars before I talked to anyone again.” Yeah Yeah Yeahs

18 ‘Rockaway Beach’ – The Ramones

“Such an amazing summer song, It was all about New York, and it came out in 1976 – which was my first summer living like a penniless teenager in New York. All I did was hang out at CBGs and see the Ramones and Patti Smith and stuff. So that song was a real soundtrack to the time. I don’t know why that was the greatest summer, I guess because I was at my most impressionable and I was just so enthralled by what was going on in the music scene. It was wonderful.” Chosen by Thurston Moore

17 ‘212’ – Azealia Banks

“I think it’s brilliant. I like how in-your-face she is. I like her confidence and refreshing delivery. I came across it when the video went viral on YouTube and thought ‘yep, I dig that, this is pretty good’. It’s got legs as a tune. I think she sticks to her guns which is a refreshing change – she doesn’t give a shit, which you’ve got to respect. Hats off. I wish more people would be like that. You see so much stuff which is really good, really well done, but it doesn’t have that extra special something which turns your head.

16 ‘Higher Than The Sun’ – Primal Scream

“As you can probably imagine, my record collection is chock-a-block with summer anthems. I bought Primal Scream’s ‘Higher Than The Sun’ the day it came out, though. Was I higher than the sun? Probably not… oh, actually I was, but I’m not going to talk about it. I was only 14. I went to see them around that time and they were outrageously good. That’s probably the best single of the ‘90s.” Chosen by Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai

15 ‘Round Are Way’ – Oasis

“This undeniably happy song is about as positive as Oasis got I reckon. The cocksure swagger is swapped for a carefree skip. The monobrow scowl is swapped for a shit-eating grin. It’s the same wall of guitars but the prominence of the brass gives the whole track such a bright and airy feel and Liam’s snarl is still as poised and gritty as ever. I remember a mate’s older brother made me a tape of all Oasis’ b-sides when I was about 12. I totally fell in love with it and played it until the tape’s pitching was totally goosed.

14 ‘White Light/White Heat’ – The Velvet Underground

“I never go out in summer. Once April starts people go out like dogs, so I stay in. Summer is hell. There are a few songs that remind me how horrible summer is. Like The Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heart’. It says it all under three minutes.” Chosen by Mark E Smith, The Fall

13 ‘Darlin” – Beach Boys

“OK OK, Beach Boys – so far so obvious. But this is from the soggy chewed-out pen-lid end of their imperial phase. You can practically hear the desperation in Carl Wilson’s voice, and the music behind him is as raucous as anything else released in 1967. As summery as being stuck inside wishing you were anywhere else, this song more than any other reveals the dark heart at the core of California’s kings of pop. Oh, and before they were Daft Punk, a certain French duo named themselves after this song.” Chosen by Jeremy Warmsley, Summer Camp

12 ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana

“I never knew what the fuck they were talking about in that song, but there’s that line: ‘With the lights out, it’s less dangerous’. It always seemed like there was a lot of violence and sex put together.” Chosen by Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips

11 ‘Camarillo Brillo’ – Frank Zappa

“I fucking love that song, and I heard it for the first time right in the middle of summer. I must have been about 12 years old, and I was in the car with my dad and brother on a really hot day, and this track came on. My dad was playing us a load of Zappa stuff from his ‘Have I Offended Someone?’ album – which is basically a compilation of all his most disgusting songs – but then he put ‘Camarillo Brillo’ on, and it was such an uplifting track. It’s definitely one of his more commercial, easily digestible songs.

10 ‘Red, Red Wine’ – UB40

“I like ‘Red Wine…’, I mean, I like red wine too, but the song feels very summery to me, it always has. I remember being in the back yard at my parents house – I lived with my parents forever, I lived with my parents until I was in my late 20s, basically – I remember hanging out in the back yard and when that song was on it felt like it would always be summer. In Chicago you get summer but for a couple of months!” Chosen by Pete Wentz

9 ‘What A Beautiful Day’ – The Levellers

“It’s an archetypal summer song, isn’t it? It’s upbeat and foot-tappy. I grew up listening to The Levs, I’ve always been a huge fan – I don’t give a fuck who thinks what about it. Levellers fans are generally quite defensive about other people’s opinions about them! Fuck the world, I love The Levellers! Obviously
I’ve gone on to tour with them and I’ve played their festival Beautiful Days. I haven’t covered it –
The Levellers cover I’ve done is ‘Julie’, with the band and me rearranging the song, which was really one of my career pinnacles.” Chosen by Frank Turner

8 ‘Rebel Music’ – Bob Marley

“It reminds me of being nine years old, walking around the school playground with my girlfriend and a ghetto blaster on my shoulder, blasting out Marley.” Chosen by Bez

7 ‘Cool It Down’ – Velvet Underground

“When I had my summer of self-realisation when I was about 14, I discovered the Velvet Underground. That was when I realised there was more to life than TV, radio and school… this was pre-internet. I found the Velvet Underground and created my own world, which was a mix of Hampshire and New York in my head.

6 ‘Smokestack Lightnin” – Howlin’ Wolf

“A great accompaniment for hot sweaty summer night shenanigans.” Chosen by Ghostpoet

5 ‘West’ – Mafia Lights

“Joel Amey’s songwriting has always made me feel guilt free, new born and pure. I’ve adored it since I first heard it, and still do, with his extraordinarily honest ballad ‘Swallowtail’ on the Wolf Alice debut. [His pre-Wolf Alice band] Mafia Lights soundtracked my tall migration to London, me skydiving in love, and the hungriest leap of my life. Also James of Mafia Lights is now in Swim Deep, i’ve stolen me a piece of the mafia magic.” Chosen by Austin Williams, Swim Deep

4 ‘Surrender’ – Cheap Trick

“I remember being on the bench in Ocean City, Maryland, drunk as hell, sitting on a lifeguard chair at three o’clock in the morning and singing that song at the top of my lungs. And realising that it actually felt good to sing and release like that.” Chosen by Dave Grohl

3 ‘Golden Skans’ – Klaxons

“When I was really young, I remember we had this cassette in the car of The Rugrats Movie. They did a cover of Blondie’s ‘One Way Or Another’ – that was probably my entry into new wave! When I was 15, it was the summer of New Rave and I remember going to Reading and seeing Klaxons on a small stage and having face paint on. ‘Golden Skans’ was the sound of that summer, in the most nostalgic way. It felt like the most important thing that had ever happened to anyone, ever.

2 ‘How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite’ – Sandy Denny & The Strawbs

“It never gets old. It’s similar to that Kinksy British ideal, it reminds me of British summer time.” Chosen by Sam Fryer, Palma Violets

1 ‘California Soul’ – Marlena Shaw

“That’s something I’d always put on when it’s a nice sunny day. It’s got that feeling where you put a song and you just feel warm. I think that’s a good trait in a song.” Chosen by Tom McFarland, Jungle