Culver City Observer -

Sweet Joys Of Summer

Smart And Spicy

 

August 10, 2017



Plein été. It's what the French call full summer. We're intensely in the middle of it. What's on your mind? Nothing, should be. Summertime, And the livin' is easy Fish are jumpin' And the cotton is high George Gershwin wrote it in 1934 for the opera "Porgy and Bess." Summer's emblem, lyrics were written by DuBose Heyward (although ASCAP also credited Ira Gershwin.) Stephen Sondheim called them "the best lyrics in musical theater." It had more than 33,000 covers. It's so evocative...summer...living easy...jazz. While the fish and the cotton may not be jumping where you are, the picture's seductive. Relax, watch the butterflies. Enjoy the smell of summer flowers. Notice beauty. Summer breeze makes me feel fine Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind Summer breeze makes me feel fine Blowin' though the jasmine in my mind "Summer Breeze," by Seals & Crofts, was 13 in Rolling Stone's "Best Summer Songs of All Time". Guileless, it was played on a toy piano, and a huge hit in 1973. Summer: the lovely whiff of jasmine is everywhere. Can you go outdoors? Plant a flower, or appreciate some; these, then, are the treats of summer. Savor summer smells. Take time to be grateful. Hot town, summer in the city Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty In the summer, in the city In the summer, in the city Cool town, evening in the city

The Loving Spoonful's "Summer In The City" was number one in August, 1966, for three weeks. Get to an outdoors summertime concert, day or night. Just sitting there, waiting for you to relish, free summer concerts are everywhere. The West coast has the sunshine And the girls all get so tanned I wish they all could be California I wish they all could be California I wish they all could be California girls The quintessential "California Girls," by the Beach Boys,was in their summer album"Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)." It's the icon of eternal summer. Where does that encompassing feeling of summer come from, embracing these months? Happiness' appeal in summer's bouncy sound. Callin' out around the world Are you ready for a brand new beat? Summer's here and the time is right For dancin' in the street "Dancing in the Street," by Martha and the Vandellas, is the number one summer song on Rolling Stone's list. Originally a shout-out to summer, it morphed to being called an anthem for civil rights, inspiring social change. Eventually, Martha Reeves, of the Vandellas, denied that, insisting, "My Lord, it was a party song." In the summertime when the weather is hot You can stretch right up and touch the sky When the weather's fine You got women, you got women on your mind Have a drink, have a drive Go out and see what you can find "In The Summertime," by Mungo Jerry, was politically incorrect in a couple of ways by today's standards. If her daddy's rich take her out for a meal If her daddy's poor just do what you feel In 1970 it seemed okay to write lyrics like these. Would the lines about women work in today's climate? Would women rise up wearing some contemporary equivalent of pussy hats?

Still, it made number 20 on Billboard's summer songs list. Encouraging drinking, then driving, must have been okay then, per the song's instructions. This song was number one worldwide, including seven weeks on the UK Singles chart. It sold over 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. Simple pleasures of summer: a chance to read outside. The private joy of wearing sandals. Oh, when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof And your shoes get so hot, you wish your tired feet were fireproof Under the boardwalk, down by the sea On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be "Under The Boardwalk," by The Drifters, was number four in 1964. It sang of New York summers where what went on (or could...) both on, and under, the boardwalk, was well-known. Nostalgia, leitmotif of summer's best days, runs through it; summer is where (lack of) clothes and weather join hands; the boardwalk being the fabled escape of beach vacations. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer You'll wish that summer could always be here 1963 Nat King Cole hit big with "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer." The air feels different; it's delicious to go for a walk at night when the air's warm and wafts over you. Senses are tantalized by summer's barbecue tradition. Berries and fruits at their peak; summer corn tastes better every week until you think it can't get any better, then it does. You feel free to get out and see things, and bulkless from long-gone gloves and heavy coats. The soft treat of eating breakfast outside. Just to sit and relax. A tall glass of iced tea waiting; your coffee cup as you watch early morning happen. You can be lazy. Breathe summer! You can breathe. It's here now. If you live in a place with endless summer it doesn't make summertime less special. Breathe, it's not like winter where you see your breath frost over. It's not like winter where you shiver. It's not like when you know winter's on the way. It's not like spring, when you wish summer would get here.

It's here! So breathe! Breathe deep!______________________________________________ Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything. You can write to her at: smartspicy1@gmail.com

 

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