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Ranked: Every Summer Song From 1960 to Today

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The battle for 2014’s official summer jam is well underway and though it’ll be weeks before Billboard officially names the “Song of Summer,” they’re placing early bets on Australian Rapper Iggy Azalea who’d dominating the Hot 100. Not only does she currently have the No. 1 song with “Fancy,” but also shares the No. 2 spot with “Problem,” her collab with tiny belting superstar Ariana Grande. Two songs in the top two spots is a feat only previously achieved by the Beatles. “Fancy” is song right in line with the quintessential summer songs we’ve known to look for over the past few years – it has a sick beat and is incredible catchy. The feel good rhythm is exactly what you want to be listening to on your summer road trip or laying out pool side. But up-beat party songs haven’t always been the hits of summer and that’s a fact I found digging into the chart archives from 1960 through today.

Sure, I could have turned a blind eye when I noticed Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” sitting at number two. Or Hanson’s “MMMBop” getting beat out by the super sad (but good) death-related ballad “I’ll Be Missing You.” But I have to stick with the facts, so if your favorite summer jam is absent from the list, it was topped out officially due to another song’s performance in air play and sales. That’s show biz, you guys.

Here are the 53 songs of summer from 1960 today, based on popularity, feeling of nostalgia, and historical relevance to the music industry.

53. “This Guy’s In Love With You” – Herb Alpert (1968)

This song was written by legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was uncovered after Herb Albert asked the duo if they had any old songs they’d never recorded. It was number one in June of 1968 for four weeks.

52. “Shadow Dancing” – Andy Gibb (1978)

This disco hit was number one for seven weeks in 1978. The song helped Gibb become the first artists to have his first three singles hit the number one spot.

51. “Bent” – Matchbox Twenty (2000)

The year 2000 was a tough call with “Bent” and ‘N Sync’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” both in number one spots during the summer. Don’t blame me, blame Billboard.

50. “Cathy’s Clown” – The Everly Brothers (1960)

This classic song was The Everly Brothers’ biggest hit single and final number one song, with seven weeks on the top of the charts. It would later be popularly covered by country star Reba McEntire.

49. “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennet & GoonRock (2011)

This dance-pop recording was LMFAO’s first number one single, where it stayed for six straight weeks. It spent a total of 68 weeks on the charts, the third highest number of weeks on the charts by any song Billboard Hot 100 history.

48. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen (2012)

Though you may skip this song on your summer jams playlist, thanks to overplaying by American radio and your bffs, this was unarguably one the biggest songs of the decade. “Call Me Maybe” was the biggest selling single of 2012, with over 10 million purchases.

47. “I Kissed a Girl” – Katy Perry (2008)

This hit single introduced the world to the soon-to-be mega star, Katy Perry. The controversial song was on the top of the charts for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the 1,000th number one song of the rock era.

46. “Get Back” – The Beatles with Billy Preston (1969)

This single was jumped to the top of the charts in April of 1969 and stayed there for seven weeks. It’s the only Beatles song to credit another artist.

45. “Promiscuous” – Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland (2006)

Even with her catchy hit “I’m Like a Bird,” this song was Furtado’s first number one single. It topped the charts for six weeks from July into August.

44. “My Love” – Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)

This number one single was recorded with a live orchestra at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and was certified Gold for sales over one million copies.

43. “The Candy Man” –Sammy Davis Jr. (1972)

This classic originally appeared in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory but is best known for Sammy Davis Jr.’s cover. It spent three weeks at number one in June of 1972.

42. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke feat. T.I & Pharrell Williams (2013)

This mega-smash caused lots of controversy during its 13 week run as the number one song, including the NSFW music video and now iconic MTV performance featuring Miley Cyrus.

41. “Sir Duke” – Stevie Wonder (1977)

Wonder wrote this classic for great musicians he felt were important, like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong. It was number on both the U.S Billboard Hot 100 and Black Singles charts.

40. “Tossin’ and Turnin” by Bobby Lewis (1961)

You’ve heard this tune on dozens of oldies compilations, but it was the biggest hit of 1961, especially during the summer. It sat in the number-one spot for seven consecutive weeks.

39. “I Gotta Feeling” – The Black Eyed Peas (2009)

This hit beat the group’s other smash “Boom Boom Pow” down from number one to number two. It stayed in the top spot for 14 consecutive weeks and was the most downloaded song on iTunes of all time.

38. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Ray Charles (1962)

Another cover, this song was originally recorded by country songwriter Don Gibson in 1957. The Ray Charles version was number one for five weeks and would be covered again by dozens of artists including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Martina McBride.

37.”Mama Told Me (Not To Come) – Three Dog Night (1970)

This hit was a rock ‘n roll cover of Eric Burdon’s 1966 version. The song was the first number one single on the first ever broadcast of American Top 40. 

36. “I Swear” – All-4-Once (1994)

It’d be a great fact to know the number of babies conceived to this song during the summer of ’94. A cover of country artist John Michael Montgomery, the song was an All-4-One smash hit that sat in the number-one spot for 11 weeks.

35. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”  – Brian Adams (1991)

This ballad doesn’t scream summer fun, but it’s so damn good. With seven weeks at number one, the hit became one of the best selling singles of all time.

34. “Shout” – Tears For Fears (1985)

“Shout” was number one for three weeks of summer in 1985 and one of the biggest songs of that year. It would go on to be the group’s signature and the favorite song to dance to at weddings everywhere.

33. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg (2010)

The two artists wrote this hit as an ode to the West Coast after the mega success of “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. The single was number one for six consecutive weeks in the U.S., as well as the top spot in 10 other countries.

32.  – “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – UB40 (1993)

This reggae cover of Elvis Presley’s classic ballad sat in the number one spot for seven weeks. It reigned in the top spot in seven countries simultaneously.

31.  “Umbrella” – Rihanna feat. Jay-Z (2007)

This single was originally rejected by Britney Spears, which couldn’t have played out better for RiRi who turned the song into a number one hit. Umbrella was the highest digital debut in the U.S. and earned Rihanna and Jay-Z a Grammy for Best Rap/Song Collaboration.

30.  “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112 (1997)

“I’ll Be Missing You” samples The Police‘s 1983 hit song “Every Breath You Take.” A tribute to the recently passed Notorious B.I.G., the song broke the record with 11 weeks at number one, the longest of any hip-hop song in history until Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in 2002. 

29.”Every Breath You Take” – The Police (1983)

Sound familiar? This single was the biggest song of 1983 and sat number one throughout summer for eight consecutive weeks. It would go on to be the fifth best selling single of the decade.

28.  “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes (1981)

This hit spent nine weeks at number one and was Billboards biggest song of the entire year in 1981. The song won two 1982 Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. 

27.  “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” – Eve feat. Gwen Stefani (2001)

The song was one of the biggest selling singles of Summer 2001 and won the year’s Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. 

26.  “Alone” by Heart (1987)

The 80s power ballad gave Heart its first number-one single, sitting in the top spot for most of July.

25.  “Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain & Tennille (1975)

This classic cover sat at the number-one spot for five weeks and topped the year end chart for 1975. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Record the following year. But, sadly, love didn’t keep them together forever or on the charts.

24. “Hanky Panky” – Tommy James & The Shondells (1966)

This notable classic was a demo record sold by Roulette Records in 1966. The band opted not to re-record it, which didn’t stop it from going to number-one for two weeks.

23. “Vision of Love” – Mariah Carey (1990)

Iconic Mariah. “Vision of Love” proved she was in a league of her own and sat at the number-one spot for six weeks of summer.

22.  “Confession Part II” – Usher 2004

Nothing says summer like admitting to your woman you impregnated your mistress. This hit rode the wave of Usher’s “Burn” all the way to number one.

21.  “Silly Love Songs” – Paul McCartney & Wings (1976)

“Silly Love Songs” kicked off summer of ’76 with five weeks at number one. It was recently recorded for an episode of Glee.

20. “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” – Los Del Rio (1996)

The number-one single of 1995, dance floors across the world were killing the “Macarena.” The song stayed in the Hot 100 chart for 60 weeks, the longest reign among number-one songs until Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

19. “I Feel the Earth Move” – Carole King (1971)

Carole King had both the number-one and number-two singles for 1971, with this hit riding out the top spot the entire summer.

18.  “Right Here Waiting” – Richard Marx (1989)

This single would be Richard Marx’s third consecutive number-one hit. It would be included in Billboard’s Holt Adult Contemporary Recurrents list from 2000-2003, more than 10 yeas after its release.

17. “Genie In a Bottle” – Christina Aguilera (1999)

’90s nostalgia at its finest, “Genie in a Bottle” was Christina’s lead single from her debut album and quickly went to number one for five weeks. It would go on to top the charts in 21 other countries.

16.  “When Doves Cry” – Prince (1984)

“When Doves Cry” was Prince’s first U.S number-one single, topping the charts for five weeks and selling more than any other song that year.

15. “The Boy Is Mine” – Brandy & Monica (1998)

Girl fight! This song may not make you long for the beach, but it will inspire you to serve the sass. The single was number one for 13 weeks.

14. “Hot In Herre” – Nelly (2002)

“I’m gonna take my clothes off.” Ok, not really. It’s only June. This single was Nelly’s first number-one hit and the 2002’s number-one single as well.

13. “Crazy In Love” – Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z (2003)

The most recent single at the top of our list, this song introduced Beyoncé to the world as a solo artist. It was her first number-one single and sat there for eight weeks.

12. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna (1986)

This controversial single was Madonna’s fourth consecutive number-one hit. It became a worldwide phenomenon, reaching the top position of the singles charts in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, and Norway and inside the top five in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.

11. “The Loco-Motion” – Grand Funk (1974)

Everybody’s doing this not-so-brand-new dance now. This song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times, each in a different decade by a different artist. 

10. “Roll With It” – Steven Winwood (1988)

One of the most quintessential songs of the ’80s, this single spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the summer of 1988.

9. “It’s My Party” – Lesley Gore (1963)

“…And I’ll cry if I want to!.” You know the words, along with the rest of the world. This number-one hit was the first for now legendary producer Quincy Jones.

8.  “We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey (2005)

Symbolizing Mariah Carey’s first comeback, the 2005 hit broke chart records in the U.S. by becoming her 16th number-one song and the second longest running number-one single in history (14 weeks).

7. “I Get Around” – The Beach Boys (1964)

It doesn’t get much more summer than the Beach Boys, and this classic gave them their first number-one hit. It only sat in that spot for three weeks, but that was longer than any other song that year.

6. “Call Me” – Blondie (1980)

“Call Me” was by far Blondie’s biggest hit, becoming the number-one single of 1980, sitting in the number-one spot for all six weeks of summer.

5. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin (1967)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha’s cover of Otis Redding’s original song became a banner for the feminist and R&B movements. Rolling Stone ranked the hit number five on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

4. “Waterfalls” – TLC (1995)

“Waterfalls” has stood the test of time and risen to be TLC’s signature song. The single was number one for seven weeks and the second biggest song of the year, thanks to their MTV-produced music video, which costs a reported $1 million.

3. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – The Rolling Stones (1965)

Despite the fact that Mick Jager doesn’t “smoke the same cigarettes as me,” this song gave the Rolling Stones their first number-one song in the U.S. It’s been noted as one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded.

2. “Bad Girls” – Donna Summer (1979)

This disco classic became a number-one hit on the Billboard popR&B and dance singles charts simultaneously becoming, alongside “Hot Stuff,” Donna Summers’ most successful single. It’s found its way into summer scenes in everything from Sex and the City and The Replacements. Now try to not get up and dance. Impossible. 

1. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)

One of the most recognizable songs of all time, “Baby Got Back” premiered with controversy surrounding its sexual lyrics, complete with a music video banned by MTV. It would go on to be number one for five weeks in the summer of ’92 and win a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.