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Alice Cooper’s end-of-the-school-year anthem is the perfect kickoff to summer vacation. Every year on the last day of school, someone somewhere was blasting this song while students waded knee-high through crumpled up exams and old homework. In Cooper’s book, Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict, Cooper reveals he wrote the song to capture “the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning”. Besides being a chant for America’s youth, the song, released in 1972 off the album with the same name, was Cooper’s first big hit single and has since been covered by everyone from Alien Sex Fiend to the cast of Glee.
The Go-Go’s’ 1982 song about using a summer vacation to repress heartbreak was the first single released off their album with the same name. The song has become synonymous with vacations of any type and has been featured in TV shows and movies alike. The single was also issued as the first cassette single (or “cassingle“) ever, and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1982. The classic video, which showed the band waterskiing, has apparently been removed from YouTube for copyright reasons, but will forever be linked with the song.
That iconic maniacal laugh and the subsequent “Wipeout!” have been a mainstay in popular culture since 1963 when surf rock band, the Safaris, released the song. Since then, “Wipeout“ has been featured in countless TV shows and films, including Surf’s Up, Get Crazy, and Dirty Dancing, putting the band on the map and making the song one of the most recognized surfing anthems of all time.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the late, great lady of disco—she even has “summer“ in her name. Her hit “Hot Stuff“, the first single off of the classic album Bad Girls, was released in June 1979. The sweaty sexy summer hit includes a guitar solo by ex-Doobie Brother and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, making it a surefire way get people bumping and grinding on the dance floor.
This Ramones hit from their 1977 album Rocket to Russia sums up summer in NYC “up on the roof, out on the street, down on the playground—the hot concrete”. Written by bassist Dee Dee Ramone as an ode to his favorite spot in Queens, “Rockaway Beach“ is a surf punk tune synonymous with youth and hitching a ride to the shore.