The sunshine sensations that hit all the right notes
Humming along to the sounds of summer? MARION McMULLEN looks back at some hit holiday songs
DRIVING a double decker bus around Europe with your mates for the summer was the starting point of British movie Summer Holiday. It saw Sir Cliff Richard behind the wheel with The Shadows, Una Stubbs and Melvyn Hayes all aboard for the sunshine romp. The film was one of the movie blockbusters of 1963 and also led to the title track reaching number one in the UK, Australia, Canada and across Europe.
Cliff got everyone in the holiday mood, singing “We’re going where the sun shines brightly. We’re going where the sea is blue. We’ve seen it on the movies. Now let’s see if it’s true.”
Written by Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett of The Shadows, Summer Holiday was one of 16 songs written for the film that was advertised as “the craziest riot on wheels!”.
Cliff even sang the song when he famously entertained the Wimbledon crowd with an impromptu singalong when rain stopped play back in 1996.
Children’s TV presenter Timmy Mallett was at number one in 1990 with a cover version of novelty song Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.
It was first a hit for Brian Hyland in 1960 and Timmy Mallett’s recording was produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and released under the name Bombalurina – one of the felines characters from the musical Cats. The single went to number one in the UK, New Zealand and across Europe.
T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats also inspired the name of British band Mungo Jerry who took their name from the poem Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.
The band’s singer and guitarist Ray Dorset wrote the group’s biggest hit, In The Summertime, in 1970 and saw it go on to become one of the world’s biggest selling singles with Shaggy also recording a version in 1995.
Dorset wrote the summer favourite in just 10 minutes on a secondhand guitar.
Novelty song Agadoo took British group Black Lace to number two in the summer of 1984 – it was kept off the top spot by George Michael’s Careless Whisper – and spent 30 weeks in the singles charts. The song sold more than a million copies worldwide even though it was banned by BBC Radio 1 for not being “credible”.
The song came complete with dance moves with the lyrics urging “Come and dance every night with a hula melody.”
The right moves also inspired the surprise success of Macarena by Spanish duo Los Del Rio (Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz Perdigones) in August, 1995. It also spent record 60 weeks in the American chart, 14 of them at no.1, while newspapers offered tips on how to get the dance routine right.
The Damned’s Captain Sensible found himself with a summer hit on his hands in 1982 with his version of Happy Talk, from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.
The punk band’s drummer memorably appeared on Top Of The Pops with a stuffed parrot on his shoulder while backing vocals came from the band Dolly Mixture.
The Cheeky Girls celebrated summer with a Hip Hip Hooray (It’s A Cheeky Holiday)
TV star Timmy Mallet sang about a very small bikini
Spanish girl group Las Ketchup had holidaymakers dancing to The Ketchup Song in 2002 and ended up selling seven million singles worldwide.
A year later Romanian twin sisters the Cheeky Girls, Gabriela and Monica Irimia – who found fame on The X Factor –came out with Hip Hip Hooray (It’s A Cheeky Holiday) in 2003 singing “When the sun goes down, it’s party time.”
However, when heatwaves hit, Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful is often still the first song that radio DJs reach for because it captures the sensation of sweltering heat.
The song was a hit in 1966 and was recorded over two days. The track featured traffic noise and car horn sound effects with lyrics contrasting the heat of the city during the day with the cool of the night. “Hot town, summer in the city, Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity. Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.”
Of course, no summer would be complete without a Beach Boys track ... or two.
They brought beach culture to the airwaves with classic songs like Surfin’ USA, All Summer Long, California Girl, Do It Again and Wouldn’t It Be Nice.
Founder member Brian Wilson once summed up the season saying: “Summer means happy times and good sunshine. It means going to the beach, going to Disneyland, having fun.”
The Beach Boys brought the surfin’ sound to our shores This Captain took a sensible approach with a classic show tune Cliff Richard and the Shadows took us all on a busman’s holiday... and we loved it
The Lovin’ Spoonful had the perfect hit for heatwaves
In the Nineties we were all busy learning to dance the Macarena
Agadoo was a smash hit for Black Lace Summer inspired Mungo Jerry guitarist Ray Dorset