Summer Music: Fred Armisen's Mixtape

Friday, June 25, 2010

All summer long we'll be asking thinkers, artists and musicians about what makes the quintessential summer song. This week, SNL's Fred Armisen gives us his idea of the ultimate summer playlist. (You've probably seen Armisen play President Obama in SNL sketches, though you might not know he is also the former drummer for the punk band 'Trenchmouth.')

When it comes to summer tracks, he says it's all about the tempo. The music has to be either really upbeat or slow enough to elicit memories of our long hot summers of the past.

Fred Armisen's Summer Playlist:

"Pop Life" from Prince and the Revolution, 1985

"Long Hot Summer" The Style Council, 1983

"Feel it All Around" Washed Out, 2009

"You Saved My Life" Cass McCombs, 2009

"Beach Comber" Real Estate, 2009


Fred Armisen

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [20]

Tim From Rhode Island

"Brandy" by Looking Glass makes me think of Summer. Some how you can't leave out the Beach Boys "Catch a Wave", "Surfin' U.S.A". How about Tommy James "I Think We're Alone Now". I could find more in my library but these are few off the top of my head.

Jun. 27 2010 11:05 AM
vickie tanner from brooklyn, New York

Boys of summer by Don Henley is the ultimate summer song. Whenever I hear it I am immediately transported to the pacific coast highway in southern california.

Jun. 25 2010 07:22 PM
Amy from South Orange

"In a Big Country" by the almost eponymously named band, "Big Country." Makes me want to pack up and hit the road.

Jun. 25 2010 05:11 PM

"In a Big Country" by the almost eponymously named band, "Big Country." Makes me want to pack up and hit the road.

Jun. 25 2010 05:10 PM
ann marie from Detroit, MI

Here in Michigan we love our native sons, so almost anything by Bob Seger especially if it's from "Live Bullet".
"All Summer Long" - Kid Rock.
"Summer in the City" form the year I turned 13.
"Boys of Summer" - Don Henley, and lots of Eagles songs
"Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina & Waves
Currently, "Smile" - Uncle Cracker,
"Hey Soul Sister" - Train
Last but certainly not least we NEED some Springsteen! How about "Born to Run", "Jungleland", "Thunder Rd" and "Pink Cadillac"

Jun. 25 2010 04:33 PM

As a teenager in Tennessee in the 1960's, I was a lifeguard at a large public swimming pool. There was a magnificent jukebox on the veranda, but all one could usually hear from the lifeguard stands was the baseline. I fell quite in love with one record, "El Watusi" by the immortal Ray Barretto, with its classic Afro-Cuban baseline. It will always be associated with summer for me, because that record was a radio hit only briefly. But it stayed on that jukebox every summer. That baseline stuck in my head for the rest of my life, although I would have no way of knowing that, over 30 years later, I would produce shows for public radio on Latin jazz and classic salsa, including "El Watusi."

Jun. 25 2010 01:36 PM
Tracy from Ferndale, MI

Katrina and The Waves "Walkin' on Sunshine" screams summer! Hard to believe it's 25 years old. My 3 1/2 year old has discovered it thanks to a Ni Hao, Kai-Lan video currently airing on Nickelodeon. She loves it!

Jun. 25 2010 12:24 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

It's 1987 and I cue up "In the Air Tonight", by Phil Collins. The first song on my summer playlist. Rev up the convertible and race through downtown Miami's empty streets in the AM hours. Red stoplights blinking overhead and exhaust notes echoing high, as I sliced through static warm air until I reached the Boulevard and met up with cool sea breezes. I'd throw the car into a four-wheel drift, changing course. SoBe calling. Glen Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" would come on as I flew up the causeway. Repeat the ride the following weekend. The convertible died later that year.

Jun. 25 2010 10:25 AM
Pat from Michigan

John- one more for you: There is a great acoustic version of the Outfield's "Your Love" performed by two members of the band "I See Stars" that you can catch on Youtube. Check it out, I think you'll like it.

Jun. 25 2010 10:08 AM
nlc from northville, michigan

summer song- see you in september by neil sadacka

Jun. 25 2010 10:05 AM
David "LaVals" Lavallee from Linwood, Massachusetts


No lie! All time greatest and ultimate Summer song....

From the 50's... "Summertime, Summertime" by the Jamies.

It was our Anthem each year around the time summer school vacation began.
It meant THREE BIG things... beaches, beaches, beaches!

Jun. 25 2010 10:04 AM

School's Out, Alice Cooper

Jun. 25 2010 10:02 AM
vickie Tanner from summer songs

Ultimate summer song: Boys of Summer by Don Henley

Jun. 25 2010 10:00 AM
Jeff from Vorloxx7

Who is Pat Banitar? Johnny, read the notes, it's Benatar...

Jun. 25 2010 09:52 AM
Chas J Wagner from Denver

Two songs come to my mind in the summer.

Perhaps my generation's anthem is the Jimmy Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock and the "summer of love".

But...from my perspective, the quintessential summer song is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" evoking a summer evening at the ball park and all that goes with that. Pure Americana...

Jun. 25 2010 09:52 AM
Pat from Michigan from Michigan

"All Day Music" - War

"Hot Fun In The Summer Time" - Sly and The Family Stone

"Groovin" - The Rascals

I'm showing my age, too!

Jun. 25 2010 09:50 AM
Julie from Boston

For me, no summer is complete without rolling down the car windows and cranking "Roam" by the B-52s. Roam around the world!

Jun. 25 2010 09:36 AM
Kevin from Hampshire

'A Message to you, Rudy' - The Specials

'Cello Song' - Nick Drake

'Bird's Lament' - Moondog

'Grantchester Meadows' - Pink Floyd

Jun. 25 2010 08:21 AM

Like Mr. Prouse of Manhattan, I'm getting old, too. I didn't recognize the music you played and I didn't really like what I heard ... those songs were loud, raucous and probably at least R-rated. Like Mr. Prouse, I came up with summer songs from the 1960s - "Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy and "Summer Rain" by Johnny Rivers. These are 2 of my all-time favorite songs --- they were pretty songs, had a great lyric and ... you could understand what the singer was saying. Finally, if I had children, I wouldn't have to worry that those children would be corrupted by X-rated lyrics.

Jun. 25 2010 08:05 AM
Robert Prouse from Manhattan

"Summer in the City" - Lovin' Spoonful !!

I must be getting old!

Jun. 25 2010 07:52 AM

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