luxken27: (Kids Inc - Together forever)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2013-04-09 07:50 pm

100 Songs That Have Moved Me | Song #016: "Summer in the City" (1966)

Title: "Summer in the City"
Artist: The Lovin' Spoonful
Composers: John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, Steve Boone
Producer: Paul Leka
Release Date: July 4, 1966
Peak Chart Position: #1 (Hot 100)
Album: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful (1966)

Rolling Stone metadata:
Rank: #401

Blurb: "Summer in the City" was a stylistic turn for the Lovin' Spoonful — tougher and less daydreamy. "We felt the only way we could stick out would be to sound completely different from one single to another," said John Sebastian. With a barrage of car horns on the bridge, the record evoked its subject with urban grit and Gershwin-esque grandeur. (Source)

Words from the artist:
When at Blair Academy, Mark Sebastian submitted the lyrics as a poem for the literary magazine. That poem, entitled "Summer In the City," had the refrain "but at night it's a different world, go out and find a girl, come on, come on and dance all night, despite the heat it'll be alright [sic], and babe don't you know it's a pity, the days can't be like the night, in the summer in the city." His older brother John changed the slower verses to a more upbeat model, keeping the title and the refrain. Mark's part remains as he wrote it, words and music. Bassist Steve Boone added the instrumental coda in the middle. (Source)

How this song moves me:

A summertime classic that immediately draws to mind the hot, sticky, humid, muggy, nasty days of summer - fitting that it should be spinning in the background for me today, the first day it's been hot enough to demand AC (UNfortunately...). I love this song, and everything about it: the funky backbeat, the instrumental break with the songs of the Volkswagen Beetle horn and the jackhammer (ingenius!) to signify the sounds of the city, the provocative lyrics. It's an interesting contrast between the hot, muggy days and the warm nights, and I love the way John Sebastian's voice tone changes between the halves of the verse. It's a truly beautiful and unique piece of orchestration ♥

This song has come to signify quite a bit to me right now, as I work on wrapping up my IY fandom opus, Fleeting. The (literal and figurative) climax of the fic happens in the heat of the summer, and I like to play this song to get in the mood and set my frame of mind, and to pick out appropriate discriptive phrases. I hate the heat, so it's definitely been a challenge in finding something hot about it (heh) and translating it onto the page.