Listen Up

Add these songs to your playlist for the perfect summer soundtrack.

A song doesn’t have to be about summer for it to be the perfect summer song. “It just needs to make you feel good,” says Joe Rapolla ’90M, chair of Monmouth’s Department of Music and Theatre Arts and director of its Music Industry program. As he sees it, the best summer songs fall into one of two categories: “chill ones for grooving and bopping” and “fist-pounding, high-fiving, steering-wheel-drumming ones” to get you where you’re going. Lucky for you, Rapolla curated a playlist that features some of both. Says Rapolla: “I guarantee if you add these to your playlist and turn it up, you’ll get to where you need to be … whether you’re going anywhere or not!”

For getting ready to head to the beach or the boardwalk…
Start with a little “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. It’s a groovy ’80s jam that has such a hot vibe. Then you’ve got to roll into some Beach Boys—“Good Vibrations” and “Surfin’ USA.”

For swinging and swaying at a BBQ…
Get things going with “Dancing in the Street” by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. And you’ll need some Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way,” Bob Marley’s “One Love,” and Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime.” The ukulele has such a beachy, summer sound to it, so add “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train.

For cruising the strip…
You’ve got to throw on some Springsteen1 . You can’t go wrong with “Born to Run,” and for those really hot July and August nights, “Backstreets.” For fun, “Hungry Heart” always works. Bruce helped define the Jersey Shore music scene, so a list of his songs could just go on and on. And add some Aerosmith2, too: “Walk this Way.”

Perfect for anytime, anywhere…
“You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates.2 “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals is a great song that conveys a positive message. “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman has a catchy hook. A sentimental new favorite is Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” And don’t forget Tom Petty“Don’t Do Me Like That” and “American Girl” are perfect.

Benny bonus track…
If you have to drive home after being “down the shore,” reflect on the day with “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra, another great Jersey artist.

When you’re ready to say goodbye to summer AND feel good about the fall… 
Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” is a must!

1 Rapolla has worked with and shared the stage many times with Springsteen at the Light of Day Festival in nearby Asbury Park, New Jersey.

2 Rapolla has worked with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and John Oates for a book he is coauthoring with Warner Music Nashville Chairman John Esposito.