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Summer is bike season and what better way to celebrate it than with Queen’s 1978 hit “Bicycle Race“? The track, released off of the band’s seventh album Jazz, pays homage to the time period it was released in, making references to Watergate, Star Wars, and Jaws. When Freddie Mercury croons “I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my biiiike”, it’s almost impossible not to sing along. The song even has a bicycle bell solo in the middle. Also known for its naughty video, featuring a bike race full of nude women, the song is a summer classic on more levels than one.
While it was originally composed for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, over the years, “Summertime“ has become a jazz standard, covered by several artists. Miles Davis does it best with his sultry rendition from his album Porgy and Bess, released in 1958. Even though the lyrics are missing in this instrumental version, Davis is still able to paint the picture of jumping fish and high cotton with his signature trumpet wizardry.
Hearing this catchy 1997 track from Ween’s madcap album The Mollusk summons the beach, not only because the title has the word “ocean“ in it, but also because the tropical vibe is immediate. Gene Ween (AKA Aaron Freeman) sounds like he’s singing under water. It’s no wonder the tune was featured in the Spongebob Squarepants movie as it sounds like something that could be played at an underwater dance party. The fact that it has hand clapping in it doesn’t hurt either.
Don’t drink the water! At least that’s the sentiment behind this energetic song of a summer vacation gone bad by California’s finest and most underrated band. Released in May 1998, off of Grandaddy’s debut studio album Under the Western Freeway, the song’s spirited guitars and somewhat off-kilter vocals make it the perfect song for a day of riding around with the top down or skating a halfpipe.
Light up the tiki torches; nothing gets the barbecue/pool party going like a little Bob Marley and the Wailers. In 1967, Marley wrote “Stir It Up“ for his wife, Rita, and then released it with the Wailers in 1973. It marked Marley’s first big hit outside of his homeland of Jamaica and has since become a reggae classic. “Stir It Up“ offers up the perfect mix of pool-side relaxation and languorous dance rhythms.
// Notes from the Road
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