10 Classic Rock Songs You Need On Your Summer Playlist

Photo of Bernadette Zappoli
30 September 2016

With summer fast approaching, you may be thinking ahead to all of those road trips and visits to the beach that the season has in store. But before you pack up the car or jump into your bathing suit, be sure to add these 10 song to your summertime playlist to ensure you have the most rocking summer jams for whatever adventure you pursue.

Beach Boys Surfin USA Album Art

Beach Boys – “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

The Beach Boys entire catalogue seems to evoke the very essence of the summer months. “Surfin’ U.S.A.” is a staple song from their collection that is guaranteed to snap you into the laid-back, surfer mentality that’ll have you hitting the beach so you can surf just like “Californ-i-a.”

Sammy Hagar ‘Mas Tequila’ USA Promo

Sammy Hagar – “Mas Tequila”

A party anthem like no other, Sammy Hagar sure knows how to make the most of the summer. Hagar tells the story about “the way [they] like to party” down in Baja, Mexico, “where the big blue agave grow,” and where the tequila never stops flowing. This song is a definite party hit that’ll get you moving and grooving all summer long.

David Lee Roth ‘Crazy From the Heat’ Album Art

David Lee Roth – “California Girls”

Roth’s take on the Beach Boys classic marked his debut as a solo artist in 1985. This fun-loving summer tune (and hilarious video) provide vivid imagery of bikini-clad women and the California coast we all long for in the hot summer months. Roth sure knows how to get us all in the right mentality this time of year, so enjoy a nice ‘80s twist on this ‘60s classic.

Canned Heat 1970

Canned Heat – “Going Up the Country”

The perfect summer song that will take you to the place “where the water tastes like wine,” Canned Heat’s “unofficial hippie anthem” is one you don’t want to be without. The iconic flute intro is sure to put a smile on your face as the lyrics conjure up feelings of the historic pilgrimage that thousands of kids took to Max Yasgur’s farm for the Woodstock Music and Arts festival. Let the upbeat sounds of this song carry you away, and enjoy the ride.

Big Brother and the Holding Company 1969

Janis Joplin & Big Brother and the Holding Company – “Summertime”

From the widely popular album Cheap Thrills, “Summertime” combines Janis’ iconic soulful vocals with Big Brother and the Holding Company’s grooving blues instrumentals. Starting out melodic and slow, it soon builds to a climax that will remove you from wherever you are and transport you to your dream vacation.

Guns N Roses ‘Paradise City’ Album Art Promo

Guns N Roses – “Paradise City”

Guns N Roses speak for all of us as they begged to be taken home to the “paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.” This hard rocking tune comes straight out of Guns’ 1987 debut, and has been a staple ever since. Axl Rose’s passionate vocals along with the rest of Guns’ strong, hard-hitting melody will have you packing your bags and hitting the road in search of the sought-after paradise that we all long for.

Santana Performing ‘Soul Sacrifice’ at Woodstock ’69

Santana – “Soul Sacrifice”

This six-minute instrumental marked the beginning of Santana’s popularity. Performing the song at Woodstock, it was previously widely unknown, having just been released, but that didn’t last long. A counterculture masterpiece, this song brings to mind all of the soul of the Woodstock experience, so kick back and let the melody take you back to 1969.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience 1968

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “All Along the Watchtower”

Don’t forget to add this popular Experience track to your playlist Jimi Hendrix makes this Bob Dylan cover his own, with spiraling guitar solos and his usual bluesy poetic vocals, evoking the spirit of the youth of the late ‘60s. “All Along the Watchtower” is a Hendrix classic that builds layers upon layers of emotive riffs until it reaches its grooving climax.

The Rivieras ‘California Sun’ Album Art

The Rivieras – “California Sun”

An energetic ‘60s jam by the Rivieras, “California Sun” is an essential summertime tune. Coming from the group’s album Let’s Have a Party, the track kicks off with a catchy beat that blasts out right from the start. When you add this lively little tune to your summer playlist, it’ll be hard to resist jamming along.

Alice Cooper Performing ‘School’s Out’ on the No More Mister Nice Guy Tour

Alice Cooper – “School’s Out”

What better way to start your summer than shouting along to Alice Cooper’s teenage anthem, “School’s Out“? This song perfectly sums up the innermost feelings of school-bound youth who dare to sing that they’re “out for summer, out till fall, [they] might not come back at all!” In celebration of one of the best parts about summer, be sure to let loose and blast this one at full volume.

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