Temperatures are rising all across the nation. School is letting out. Country stars are hitting the road for the annual tour of fairs and festivals. People are out grilling in their yards and everyone seems to have a little extra skip in their step.
It all means that summer is here.
As you get those cold drinks and hot grills ready this season, it’s important to have the greatest country music ready to play as you hang out with friends. If you’re out by the water playing volleyball or lounging next to a cooler, it’s necessary to have the soundtrack for the season.
Here are the songs you’ll need to make the summer memorable.
50) Stays In Mexico – Toby Keith
In 2004, Toby Keith released his second collection of greatest hits. The package – Greatest Hits 2 – featured songs from Keith’s successful tenure at Dreamworks Nashville. To lead off the album was the summery single Stays In Mexico. The song is about two folks that take trips to Mexico and have a little affair due to some impaired emotions caused by tequila. For many each summer, this song sparks the memory of fun past summer experiences…that we may regret.
49) Sunshine and Summertime – Faith Hill
Faith Hill had a successful album with 2005’s Fireflies. The album had a more country feel to it than Hill’s previous efforts and fans loved every bit of it. The fourth single from the album was the infectious Sunshine and Summertime. Co-written by John Rich, the song describes familiar images and emotions most experience during the summer months. The sunshine, the cars, and the good people. It’s a fun song that captures escapism perfectly.
48) This Afternoon – Nickelback
Nickelback goes country. The guys in the rock band – Nickelback – have a self-described potential country hit on their hands with the catchy, summer-themed This Afternoon. The song is the anthem for backyard parties this summer and it’s likely you’ll hear it at your local bar as you play volleyball or as you cruise the lake in the pontoon. Rocker Kid Rock recently had a summer hit with All Summer Long so it’s possible you’ll be hearing This Afternoon on country radio more and more as the summer days roll by.
47) Loco – David Lee Murphy
In 2004, it had been nearly 10 years since David Lee Murphy was a force on the country charts. That all changed with his summer song Loco. The song was a revival of sorts for David Lee. Loco reached the top five on the charts and had David’s name in the spotlight again. The song is about Tiki torches, grilling, and hot pepper lights. Nothing says summer like this song. Today, David Lee is riding on writing big hits for superstars in country music. But don’t forget he had a few big hits of his own including Loco.
46) Better Life – Keith Urban
Keith Urban was riding high in 2005 and his career hit a peak that year with the song Better Life. Co-written by Urban and pop singer Richard Marx, Better Life became a theme song for couples in love struggling to find their place in the world. The song connected with people for various reasons. Since most young couples look to have fun on a budget, the summer provides the opportunity to enjoy all kinds of activities. Let Better Life be your fun song this summer as you take a walk by the river, shoot hoops, or drive around the neighborhood looking for a cookout.
45) Sweet Southern Comfort – Buddy Jewell
Buddy Jewell had been singing demos in Nashville for some time. He had the voice of a country singer, but could never find the right way to sign a deal and get introduced properly to fans. In 2003, that all changed when he won the popular country talent show Nashville Star. Jewell’s first official album went platinum on the success of his debut single Help Pour Out The Rain and the second single Sweet Southern Comfort. The latter song was a major hit and drew upon some classic summer images.
44) Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?) – Garth Brooks and George Jones
Garth Brooks and George Jones teamed up for a fun song in 2001. Beer Run became a fan favorite at the tail end of the summer of 2001 as the romping song took fans on a trip to the next county to pick up some much needed alcohol for the weekend’s activities. Although the song stalled in the mid-20s on the charts, it’s still a favorite for fans that need to take off a little early on Friday to head out and get a few cold ones to kick off the weekend the right way.
43) Brand New Girlfriend – Steve Holy
Steve Holy scored his second #1 hit with Brand New Girlfriend in 2006. Over the summer that year fans loved the tongue-in-cheek take on a new relationship. Burned by a previous experience, the song is about a guy that moves on to his next girl. She is the complete opposite of the former and the guy is loving every minute of it. The song plays great for the guys (or gals) as they ditch their bad relationships in favor of a fun this summer.
42) Two Pina Coladas – Garth Brooks
Over the summer of ’98, Garth Brooks convinced many down on their luck folks to head to the beach and drink some Captain Morgan until their troubles went away. For most, summer is about letting loose and forgetting about the daily grind. Often, the best way to do just that is to enjoy some relaxing time in the sun while sipping a cool drink. Garth’s drink of choice was Two Pina Coladas, but any tasty beverage will suffice this summer.
41) Bayou Boys – Eddy Raven
Eddy Raven released his #1 classic Bayou Boys in 1989 and the song became a classic tale of summer. The song is about a young boy growing too old for things like baseball as interests changed to girls. Summer love is a familiar experience for many and can serve as a fond memory from growing up. For the guys that raise a little cane and chase all the girls this summer, Bayou Boys will be the perfect song.
40) Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
In 2008, country music fans were introduced to a unique sounding band. The Zac Brown Band released their first single with major marketing backing that year and the song became a huge smash hit on the charts. Everybody was requesting Chicken Fried. The song was undeniably catchy. Nearly two years later, Zac Brown and his band of master musicians are on top of the country world. They have five huge hits, but it’s that first hit that will forever be remembered as the one that got it all started. Make sure Chicken Fried is on your playlist this summer.
39) Independence Day – Martina McBride
Over the summer of 1994, Martina McBride found herself with an unlikely hit. Independence Day reached the top ten that summer and became a Martina’s signature hit. The song covered the difficult topic of domestic abuse and how a women reacts. The story is told through the eyes of the couple’s young daughter and it all takes place on the fourth of July. The song is not cheery in nature, but it’s passion and emotion will make you feel passionate this summer as you think about the ones you love.
38) Rebecca Lynn – Bryan White
Bryan White’s second #1 hit Rebecca Lynn wasn’t released until the fall of 1995, but the song is a true summertime classic. The tale of young elementary school love brings to light classic summer activities like kicking the can and a simple game of tag. All the things we did as kids that made us all happy are here in this timeless classic. For those of you that are still kids at heart and in love this is the song for you. It’s one that always brings a smile to your face and Bryan White is the perfect storyteller.
37) Sweet Summer – Diamond Rio
Diamond Rio was always reliable for a classic hit during their heyday and their song Sweet Summer is the perfect example. Another summer song full of classic images, Sweet Summer reminisces about such great things as Bomb Pops, Push Ups, Drum Sticks, and Dreamsicles. Getting together because someone is always having a barbecue and watching dad fix the car. Just a few of the great things from summer were captured in this classic song from a legendary country band.
36) The Cheap Seats – Alabama
A classic summertime activity is heading out to the local ball field to cheer on the team. Baseball is the sport of choice in most towns all over the country in the summer. Alabama captured the perfect theme song for those summer afternoons at the ball game with their hit Cheap Seats. The song mentions the great things about a minor league baseball team and the wonders of sitting out in the bleachers enjoying the game with good friends. The beer might not be the best, the team might not even be any good, but the memories from a get together like an afternoon at the baseball game last forever.
35) Beer In Mexico – Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney seemed a little confused when he released his hit single Beer In Mexico. It’s no surprise by this point that Chesney loves heading to the islands south of the US border each year after he’s done touring. Beer In Mexico has Kenny sitting on the beach pondering his life. He’s not sure if he should settle down or keep up with his hectic professional schedule. In the end there is really no conclusion and Kenny decides to just keep drinking beer on the beach in Mexico. Sometimes that’s not such a bad outcome. So if you plan on letting go of your decisions for a little bit this summer. Sit back and enjoy a beer with Kenny.
34) I Got Mexico – Eddy Raven
Staying with the Mexico theme, Eddy Raven takes us south of the border, but this time he’s escaping an ex-lover. Raven sang about escaping his job and ex as he sat on the beach. It doesn’t seem to turn out bad for Raven. He remembers the good things about the life he used to live, but now he’s eating right and living good. Who needs the life back at home when you’ve got Mexico.
33) Rain Is A Good Thing – Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan is a true talent in country music. He has a southern twang and a positive take on life. In the summer of 2010, Bryan took a situation that is normally a downer for summer and turned it into something fun. Rain Is A Good Thing is Luke Bryan’s song that takes on the issue of rain in the summer and makes listeners understand the importance and even the fun associated with a little downpour now and then. This summer when the rain starts coming down and you’re looking for some shelter, remember what Luke Bryan said and have a little fun with those you love.
32) I’m From The Country – Tracy Byrd
Tracy Byrd was a true blue country singer from Texas. Mark Chesnutt recommended the guitarist in his band for a record deal and Byrd took the opportunity and turned it into a successful career. He released his hit song I’m From the Country in 1998 and the song reached the top 3 on the chart. The song proved to be an anthem for many country guys and gals out there getting down and having some fun in the country during the summer months. We know how to work and we know how to play…
31) Down On The Farm – Tim McGraw
On his breakout album, Not A Moment Too Soon Tim McGraw had a hit on his hands that spoke directly to the folks spending time this summer out on their farms. Back in the old days, farmers and their families would gather at one of the local farms for a Saturday night of dancing. The old barn dances were ways for folks to get together and have some summer time fun. Whether you were sipping some shine out behind the barn or whirling your best gal around the dusty barn boards there was always something fun going on at the local farms during the summer.
30) Water – Brad Paisley
By 2010, Brad Paisley had already racked up more hits than seemingly everyone from his generation of country artists. There was that little string of 10 or so #1 hits in a row. Since first appearing on scene in 1999, Brad has put out some great songs and a great summer songs. The first one on the list is his latest Water. The song is about something we all love in the summertime – water. Hitting the lake for a dip with friends, swinging from a rope tied to a limb, running through the sprinkler or simply splashing each other at the drinking fountain, it’s all part of what makes the summer months great.
29) Life’s A Dance – John Michael Montgomery
In late 1992, a big dimpled, kid with a twang in his voice burst onto the country music scene. John Michael Montgomery would later become known for his huge ballads, but his first hit is still one his best. Life’s A Dance reached the top five on the charts in early 1993 and became a favorite among fans. The song is catchy and fun to sing. The song is about young love that is had and lost by a teenage boy. Another love story from a summer many years ago. It’s something we’ve all experienced to some degree. Use Life’s A Dance to get your toes tapping this summer.
28) One More Last Chance – Vince Gill
At the tail end of 1993, Vince Gill was armed with a growing collection of sorrowful ballads that had turned him into a country superstar. But it was his upbeat song One More Last Chance that became a fun-loving signature song. The tune sees Vince asking for forgiveness as his antics have reached a level that drives his woman to the edge of leaving. The video featured Vince out on the golf course with a few of his buddies. The story even includes a reference to the great legend of George Jones needed to take his John Deere out on the road because his significant other had taken away the truck keys. It’s a fun summer song and one that definitely needs to be on your playlist for the summer as you ask for forgiveness.
27) Small Town Saturday Night – Hal Ketchum
Hal Ketchum’s first single release with major marketing backing came with 1991’s Small Town Saturday Night. The song is about life in a small town on weekend nights. There isn’t much to do in a small town and that usually leads to trouble. If you’re spending lots of time in a small, rural town this summer be sure to have this classic country summer song on your playlist. It’s the theme song for life in the majority of towns across this great country.
26) Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up) – Garth Brooks
In the middle of 1993, Garth Brooks was on top of the music world. Garth wasn’t just the biggest thing in country music, he was the biggest artist in music. Period. In the summer of ’93, Garth released a raring song in Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up). The song lights the radio speakers on fire and leaves a trail of dust in its wake as it rips you through 3 minutes of the most rocking country you’ll ever hear. Take things song with you for those long nights of fun this summer and be sure to crank up the volume so all can hear.
25) Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) – John Michael Montgomery
When it comes to songs that make you lose your breath as you try to keep up there is nothing quite like John Michael’s Sold. The song is a rip-roaring tune that takes listeners on a 3-minutes race through the story of love at the local auction. Everyone usually loses their breath around the last goodbyyyyyyyyye, but everybody gets a smile on their face and an extra hop in their step when this song comes on each summer. Make sure to have it on your playlist for those days you’re sitting around and need to get everybody up on their feet.
24) Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter
Just a down home girl, Deana Carter released Strawberry Wine at the end of the summer of ’96 and women and girls all over the country took notice. The song took on the subject of a girl’s first experience with summer love and how it typically tastes bittersweet. The song connected with millions and made Deana a star. Written by Matraca Berg, the song is about her own summer experiences in a small town on a farm in Wisconsin. The song is slow moving and has a timeless feel. It’s the perfect song for women and girls all over that will experience a bittersweet love this summer.
23) Livin’ Part Of Life – Eric Church
It’s not one of Eric Church’s hit singles, but his album cut Livin’ Part of Life is a fan favorite in concert. The song is about putting aside all the things we have on to-do list and taking some time to enjoy the good parts of life. The song is a reminder to us all that the summer is not about working all the time and spending time being busy. The summer is about enjoying the livin’ part of life. Work hard all winter, but when summer comes be sure to take some time to enjoy your friends and family. That’s what makes life worth living. If you are lucky enough to enjoy an Eric Church concert this summer you’ll recognize this tune as everyone in the crowd sings back the words to him. It’s a sight to see.
22) Mud on the Tires – Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley career started hitting superstar status right around the time he released the album and single Mud On The Tires. The guitar-wheeling, twangy singer had a #1 hit with the song in late 2004. The video for the song was shot at Paisley’s Muddstock. It also involved mud wrestling and country legend and Paisley pal, Little Jimmy Dickens. The song is a spirited tune about spending a little time off road with your best gal. It’s usually the simple songs with catchy melodies that remain in our memories forever and this is a classic from Paisley.
21) Good Directions – Billy Currington
In 2007, Billy Currington’s career was taking a turn to an upswing. His sophomore album was gold on the success of the title track Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right and he was touring with some big names. Over the spring of 2007, Billy’s career got an extra boost with the surprise #1 hit Good Directions. The song, co-written by country star Luke Bryan before he released his debut album, was a simple and kind of quirky tale about love. Fans loved the story of two different people falling in love over sweet tea on the side of the road. The song propelled Billy’s album to platinum status and he has since enjoyed more #1 hits.
20) Summertime Blues – Alan Jackson
In 1994, Alan Jackson took a 30 year old song and gave it a little twang. Jackson successfully turned Summertime Blues into a modern day smash summer hit. The song covers the common theme of a young guy trying to get by on a few dollars and some luck during the summer. The guy in the song is trying to get some wheels in order to gain some freedom. He’s trying to get off work. He’s doing anything to get away from those common summertime blues. Alan put his mark on the song and fans even got a little taste of Alan’s deep voice. The song is still a summer favorite today and fans love getting on the dance floor to raise a fuss and a holler when it comes through the speakers.
19) Live Until I Die – Clay Walker
A song written solely by newcomer Clay Walker became a smash hit in late ’93, early ’94. Live Until I Die is a signature song for Walker. The song is about not worrying about things in life and enjoying every day until it’s time to go. We don’t need a lot of money. We don’t need a lot of stuff. All we need are the loved ones around us, dreams and hard work and then we can live happy until we’re gone. Walker sure knows how to write and sing a melody and Live Until I Die is the perfect theme song for a summer of enjoyment and happiness.
18) Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts
Nobody loves to hit the road and play for the big crowds in the summertime more than the guys in Rascal Flatts. Over their monstrous career, the guys have proven how much they love their fans. This song was cut with a live feel to it strictly so the song would sound good during the live shows. Rascal Flatts hit on a few key images from summer including popping tops, flip flops, and Igloo coolers. The guys will forever be a part of cool country summer nights for years to come.
17) When The Sun Goes Down – Kenny Chesney and Uncle Kracker
Uncle Who? Fans were a bit perplexed in 2004 when Kenny Chesney came out with a new summer duet. The song included rocker, rapper, and Adult Contemporary star Uncle Kracker. The song featured the two singing about the sun heading over the horizon in the hot summer months. The partnership worked and Kenny’s career reached a new level while Uncle Kracker was introduced to the country audience. He has since come back to release more tracks on the country charts.
16) That Summer – Garth Brooks
A story of a boy’s first love is always a sure hit. The guys and the cougars were paying attention when Garth Brooks released the sizzling song That Summer in 1993. The song tells the story of a young boy working for an older lady at her house until things get a little personal between the two. A lonely widowed woman and a teenage boy made for one sexy song. That Summer is the guy’s version of Strawberry Wine. Why does it always have to happen over the summer? Or perhaps that’s when it’s most memorable? Either way, the song is a classic summer song.
15) I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday) – Steve Azar
The summertime is the perfect time to call in sick to work on Friday for a three day weekend. Steve Azar crafted the perfect song to fit the situation and the song was released in 2001. The song struck a strong emotion with fans and it rocketed up the charts all the way to #2. Today, the song is still a favorite as the week ticks closer to the weekend. In the hot summer months when the sun is shining outside and the lake is calling, it’s so easy to call in sick or leave work early to have a little fun over a long weekend. The work can wait until the winter.
14) Six Pack Summer – Phil Vassar
In 2001, newcomer to the artist world, Phil Vassar came out with a smash hit summer song with Six-Pack Summer. Everybody was tapping along on their dashboards as Vassar saw his hit climb all the way to the top ten. The song is still popular today each summer as people pick up the six packs and throw them in a cooler on the way to the lake. Vassar is still a star in country music. He started by writing classic hits for other artists and wisely saved Six-Pack Summer for his debut album.
13) Toes – Zac Brown Band
After the Zac Brown Band rose to stardom with their debut hit Chicken Fried, the guys seemed to have a plan to continue their success. After their second single Whatever It Is climbed all the way to #2, ZBB released the instant summer classic with the Buffett-styled Toes. The radio stations had them take out the word “ass” from the lyrics, but fans live in concert get to enjoy the band’s original version. A call to buddy Kid Rock and the guys had a great video to go along with their smash #1 hit. Take ZBB along for the ride this summer and be sure to get your toes in the water, ass in the sand.
12) No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems – Kenny Chesney
With a little inspiration from Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney took America to the islands with his summer-tinged country music in the ’00s. The title song from his breakout album turned fans onto Chesney’s love for the islands. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems was a fun play on a popular store sign. The song became a personal mission statement for Chesney and his hoards of fans. Each summer Chesney still heads out on his tour to enjoy the hot months with millions of his closest, shoeless, and shirtless friends.
11) Summer’s Comin’ – Clint Black
Over the summer of ’95, Clint Black had a summer classic with the song Summer’s Comin’. The song is for those that are first in line each spring as the cold winter months turn into the hot summer months. The folks out there that can’t wait to hit the lake, the beach, and the boardwalk are the ones Clint had in mind when he wrote this summer song. A celebrity filled video directed by Clint himself made the song even more memorable and it’s still a summer classic today.
10) All Summer Long – Kid Rock
Rapper turned rocker Kid Rock had an unlikely summer hit in 2008 with his remix of two popular songs. Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker took the classics Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves In London, added new lyrics and created a catchy, summer smash hit All Summer Long. The song was a hit on various pop and rock charts all over the world and in the US. The song surprised many by reaching the top five on the country charts. Fans seemed to love the fun song about great summer memories.
9) Summertime – Kenny Chesney
Since the video for How Forever Feels, fans have known about Kenny Chesney’s love for summer and the islands. In the summer of 2006, Chesney released the aptly titled Summertime. The catchy song quickly became a fan favorite. The song draws on familiar images from summer: bare feet on the dashboard, cheap shades, and of course that bottle of Yoo-hoo. The song reached number one and has since went gold for strong digital sales.
8) Something Like That – Tim McGraw
When the summer of ’99 hit country music, Tim McGraw was perhaps the biggest star in the genre. So when he released the song Something Like That it was no surprise to see it become a smash hit. Known to some simply as The Barbecue Sauce, White T-Shirt Song, Something Like That is about meeting a girl one summer at a local fair and how that feeling of instant attraction really never goes away. It’s a feeling we all cherish and hope for each summer as we head out to have some fun.
7) Watermelon Crawl – Tracy Byrd
In the summer of 1994, Tracy Byrd had what is perhaps his best known song. Watermelon Crawl was part of the line dancing revival in the early nineties. The song is about a local watermelon festival like many celebrations small towns put on each summer. In the song, the mayor asks the folks to be safe and do the dance rather than head home after a few too many drinks. Still a classic today, Watermelon Crawl is a classic summer song. It’s fun to sing along to and the everybody sings along to the chorus.
6) Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan had a smash hit 2004-2005 with That’s What I Love About Sunday. The song vaulted Morgan to country star status. To follow that hit Morgan released Redneck Yacht Club. The summer song was infused with hooks and melodies all wrapped with fun lyrics. Riding along on the lake with a bunch of buddies in boats is a great way to spend the summer. And if you’re looking for a song to blast from the speakers when you’re out on the water, Redneck Yacht Club should fit the bill.
5) Dixieland Delight – Alabama
For a band that has so many recognizable hits, it’s impressive for Dixieland Delight to stand out as a summer favorite. The song is about looking forward to the weekend with a loved one after a long week at work. Who among us doesn’t feel like that every Friday during the summer? With more to do outside of the house and great people to spend time with, summer makes for special memories. Dixieland Delight is a simple song with a unique groove and it’s certainly a classic summer song.
4) All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight – Hank Williams Jr.
In 1994, a top ten hit for the legendary Hank Williams Jr. become perhaps his best known song (or at least melody) and became an anthem for having a good time. All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight was a rocking tune about getting together some good buddies and having a good old fashion outdoor party in the country. Jr. later turned the song’s hook into the theme song for the popular Monday Night Football. Generations have now grown up with the song and it still serves as a great song at any summer get together.
3) Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
For a guy that seems to have ten signature songs, Chattahoochee is an Alan Jackson classic. The song truly launched his career into even greater heights of stardom when released in 1993. The song hits on just about every great summer memory imaginable from grape snow cones, burgers, girls, cars, beer and time on the water. The video fit the song perfect as Alan took to the water for some skiing. The video and song are still summer staples on TV and radio. If you’re heading to the lake on a pontoon this summer be sure to have Chattahoochee on your MP3.
2) Fishin’ In The Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had tons of hits during their big run of success in the ’80s, but the song that will forever be linked to the group is the classic summer song Fishin’ In The Dark. Released in 1987, Fishin’ In The Dark had a sing along chorus that still has people clapping their hands and smiling today. Each summer you’ll hear this song as you sit around a campfire or on the tailgate of a truck. The song is original, fun, and simple – a winning combination that resulted in one of the best summer songs of all time.
1) It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere – Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
For his second collection of greatest hits, Alan Jackson needed a single to promote the album. The song was It’s Five O’clock Somewhere and it became the biggest summer song of all time. A catchy melody combined with the common theme of wanting to take a break from the work day to enjoy a beverage connected with fans everywhere. Alan teamed up with the King of Summer Jimmy Buffett for the song and it spent 8 non-consecutive weeks at #1 throughout the summer. The song remains a major hit on radio and now everybody has the perfect excuse to grab that drink.