By Radio.com Staff
With advent of summer comes the crowning of the season’s official song, which means what you’re listening to from Memorial Day to Labor Day is of great importance. Whatever song spends the most time atop the Billboard Hot 100 over the course of that three-month stretch will be crowned the official Song of the Summer.
When we hear the term “Song of the Summer” most of us think of sunny pop jams that are perfect for partying down at the beach, but historically this hasn’t always been the case.
In the early years of the Billboard charts, around the start of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958 and earlier, songs that ruled the summer airwaves just happened to be songs that came out in the summer. Bing Crosby’s “Swinging On a Star” is technically a Song of the Summer, but that’s because Song of the Summer wasn’t actually a thing yet. With such limited data, some years during those early decades even had more than one Song of the Summer.
Throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, ballads were often the most played songs when the weather got warm thanks to the fact that summer also happens to be wedding and prom season. Other songs that topped the summer charts in those decades are hits that are not synonymous with the season like Madonna‘s “Papa Don’t Preach.”
It wasn’t until the early aughts when the Song of the Summer became big business. Thanks to a whole Billboard chart created to track the most bought, played, and streamed hits of the season, songs that end up on top at the end of these three months felt like the epitome of summer hits. We’re talking earworms like Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” (2012), Katy Perry “California Gurls” (2010) and Beyoncé‘s “Crazy In Love” (2003), all of which almost seem to just scream beach days, warm nights, no school and parties that last until the early hours.
Our friends at Radio.com have compiled an in-depth list of 79 song that ruled the summer charts from 1940 to 2014 to celebrate the start of the sunny season. Click here to how they rank.