she liked Imaginary Men best of all

Summer Playlist

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As soon as summer hits the heat rises, the days lengthen and a regular craving for iced tea becomes a reality – I put on my Summer Playlist. My musical heart belongs to 80’s English Pop Bands but before the Second British Invasion swept me up in it’s moody, synthy, Union Jack notes I was just a young girl in early 80’s America where the radio was ruled by rock n’ roll music by lots of single-word-named-bands and a hot bitch called Pat.

I’m not exactly sure how my connection of summer to these types of arena-rocking-cheesy-but-undeniably catchy tunes were forged – or if any of these songs were even summertime hits in my late single-digit/early double-digit years. But something about them makes me feel like a little kid riding in the car with my mom on the way to the pool, or stopping to get an ice cream after a hot afternoon running errands.

Africa – Toto (1982): Back before pretty boys with eye liner and gelled hair, there were guys in bands who looked like your auto mechanic. Toto is that band.

Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ – Journey (1979?! Let’s call it 1980 🙂 ): Yes we all love Don’t Stop Believin’ but for my money this is the one I fantasize about tearing UP on the karaoke floor.

Too Much Time on My Hands – Styx (1981): Now you see why we needed well-tailored pop stars by the mid-80’s, I give you a guy in an aquamarine jumpsuit and one in a white (leather??) studded jumpsuit WITH shoulder pads.

You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall and Oates (1981): Without Hall and Oates there would be no 80’s. Period.

You Got Lucky – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1982): Why do I feel like the far off futuristic world in this video is probably the year we’re in NOW?

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top (1983): Yes every girl is crazy ’bout a Sharp Dressed Man!

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (1981): We’ve already established that I was a Rick Springfield Fangirl back in the day. What you may not know is that in 1981 federal agents actually came to the homes of girls aged 8-19 to legally confirm that you were in fact a Rick Springfield Fangirl. It was a law. Or something.

Promises in the Dark – Pat Benatar (1981): It was a Man’s World in early 80’s American Rock except for one tough, classically trained, bad ass goddess who you did not want to piss off. And we can all agree she rocked a jumpsuit far better than any of those dudes in Styx.

It’s hot out there so roll down the windows, crank up the tunes and rock it like it’s Morning in America!

Author: Amy H. Johnson

Amy H. Johnson is the author of The Fangirl Files a memoir about Boy Bands, TV Boyfriends and imaginary betrothals to 80s English pop stars. She prefers to be referred to as a "Cute Famous Boy Aficionado".

3 thoughts on “Summer Playlist

  1. Growing up in the 80’s my brother and I always had what we called “summer songs” and our list bears an uncanny resemblance to this one. The Cars “Magic” and stuff from Tom Petty’s Southern Accents album are the first things that come to mind but I could go on and on. To this day now that we’re in our late 30’s and early 40’s when they come on one of us will say “this is a summer song.” Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherry” is another! Similar memories too – riding around in the car after swimming lessons, to and from the local beach or just the boring errands I don’t like to do now but always wanted to go along for back then. Fun times!

    • I LOVE The Cars and “Just What I Needed” is definitely on this playlist. I thought about adding it to this post but they were more New Wave and less Cheesy Arena Rock! I love hearing that I’m not the only one that has this “seasonal connection” to this era of music 🙂

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