Music to Get Your Summer Moving

By Mike Affuso
President & CEO, NJBankers

Growing up, 102.7 WNEW “The Place Where Rock Lives” used to play its Firecracker 500 on the Fourth of July. It was the 500 greatest Classic Rock songs of all time, usually rounded out at the top by Eric Clapton’s Layla and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. 

In that vein – as we head into the weekend with summer in full swing – as promised, here are my top albums/artists of summer. (For those of you who don’t know – I’m a Jersey guy who lives at the Jersey Shore, that reads old books and likes old music, which might shine some light on my choices.)

  1. Bruce – I’m partial to the Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born to Run albums. I can certainly be happy with individual songs like Darlington County, Rosalita or Jersey Girl, but if you want to get a real flavor for the Shore these two albums are the tops. Bruce hails from Freehold originally and there’s a guitar on the Corner of 10th and E in Belmar commemorating the founding of his E Street Band. 
  2. Sinatra – Songs for Swingin Lovers. A great classy album, especially to be played on a hot summer night when serving spaghetti and clams. A second Frank album, Strangers in the Night, goes great with dessert. Sinatra hails from Hoboken and got his start in Englewood Cliffs in a joint called the Rustic Cabin. 
  3. Stones – Out of Our Heads. Obviously, Satisfaction is satisfying, but the soulful blues of the other songs sound best on a dimly lit garage bar night when the heat index is 110. Sticky Fingers comes in second for me. If you ever want to feel like you’re in a Scorsese flick, have a drink in a dive bar with it playing in the background.
  4. Bob Marley – Legend. Great reggae sounds on an iconic album. You can play it over and over again. Serve with Red Stripe cold and enjoy. 
  5. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds. Best three songs they made are on it – Wouldn’t it Be Nice, God Only Knows, and Sloop John B. This album is big, its sound is big. There were albums before it, but nothing ever like it up to that point. It paved the way for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. 
  6. The Rascals Greatest Hits. This is deep 1960s and it sounds like summer. Lonely too Long and a Girl Like You are my favs. I can hear them being cued up on the radio as “blue eyed soul from Garfield, New Jersey.”
  7. Getz/Gilberto – a cool bossa nova sound from 1964 mixes great with summer cocktails. This album features Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto and is truly iconic. 
  8. Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever. Great album – every song. If there was an album to be stuck in your car tape player back in the day, this would be the one. 
  9. Sam Cooke: Greatest Hits. If you don’t know him – you should get to know him. A great soothing sound for a just off the beach Corona.
  10. The Four Seasons Greatest Hits – I like volume one over volume two but either one is great. These fellas from Down Neck have the quintessential Jersey sound. 

And One More: Chicago – Greatest Hits Volume I. A great album with amazing songs with a brass background for a Saturday In the Park.

I also must mention a couple of my favorite compilations:

  1. Motown Boxed Set – yes, it’s a CD box set (note disclaimer above). It’s amazing, I like disc 2 and 3 the best. It’s filled with the Tops, the Temps, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes.
  2. The Phil Spector Sound – another Scorsese go to of Girl Groups from the 60s. 
  3. Surfin’ Sixties – I was turned on to this by my Uncle Ray. He has long departed but the sound remains. It’s a great compilation; California Sun is one of my favorites of all time. 
  4. A Bronx Tale Soundtrack – Scorsese, DeNiro, Dion, Four Tops, Hendrix – how can you go wrong? You can’t. A great summer soundtrack to a great movie.

I’m sure you can download these onto some device. I’ll be rooting around in my CDs with my five-disc changer to the eye rolls of everyone. Happy listening!