Best summer song No. 1: No Woman No Cry (Live 1975 version) - Bob Marley
OK, speaking of the GOAT of his genre (or maybe any other), Bob Marley rivals Sinatra as a conveyer of happiness and clarity of emotion. And when it comes to summer, "No Woman No Cry" is likely the unrivaled best song you could listen to. In fact, the song, while completely about the joys of being around friends and having a good time, could be heard in midwinter and you'd still think you might wander outside and expect to feel the heat of the day.
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There is a studio-recorded version of this song, of course, but the version from the album
Live by Marley and the Wailers recorded in London in 1975 is nothing short of amazing. It drifts and flows and stays enticing through the eight-minute piece of heaven. Marley's voice is perfect and when you add an organ to the mix, it is simply a near-religious experience.
The lyrics are supreme. They both take you back to a past that you look back on fondly but also with a sense of loss and keep you in the here and now where literally "everything's gonna be alright." What songs speaks more about the tenor of summer than this one? Simply, none.
I did have some honorable mentions for the list like the cover of "Summertime Blues" by Blue Cheer and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" by the Human League. Maybe you and your family and/or friends like different genres than the ones mentioned here. But try, just once, playing these songs on the beach or near the fire pit and I promise you that you will not be disappointed.