Summer in the City (song)

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Summer in the City
The Lovin 'Spoonful
publication 4th July 1966
length 2:41
Genre (s) Pop rock , psychedelic rock
Author (s) John Sebastian , Mark Sebastian
Label Kama Sutra Records
album Hums of the Lovin 'Spoonful

Summer in the City is a song by the US pop band The Lovin 'Spoonful from 1966 that became a million seller .

Text and music

The lyrics are based on a poem by Mark Sebastian, the younger brother of the band boss John Sebastian . John changed the lyrics to add tension to the lyrics. The text describes the impressions of a city dweller who abhors the unbearable summer heat. There doesn't seem to be any shade, all passers-by look battered from the heat and are walking on hot sidewalks. At night, however, it's different, when the heat-plagued person looks for a girl to dance.

The intro consists of an organ phrase (from a Vox Continental ) in the right stereo channel, followed by an explosive staccato volley from the bass guitar and drums in the left channel with strong reverberation . The double interlude comes from bassist Steve Boone and fits into the mood of the melody . The defining keyboard in the Liedbrücke is a Hohner Pianet , played by Steve Boone. The attack-like drums with their violent cymbal beats with every change in progression determine the high tempo of 112 bpm . In the middle section, sound effects in the form of car horns (first a VW Beetle ), traffic noise and a jackhammer are mixed in, the latter is seamlessly replaced by the keyboard. The rhythm forces fast-sung, breath-intensive text passages.

Recordings and success

The recordings for Summer in the City were made on June 9, 1966 at Columbia Studios (Studio A) in New York City with the cast John Sebastian (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Zalman Yanovsky (guitar), Steve Boone (bass guitar, Organ Fender Rhodes / Vox Continental and E-Piano Hohner Pianet) and Joe Butler (drums). Music producer Erik Jacobsen hired a radio technician especially for the sound effects, and sound engineer Roy Halee had a microphone placed in the stairwell to create a special reverberation effect.

The single Summer in the City / Butchie's Tune ( Kama Sutra Records 211) was released on July 4, 1966 and was perfectly timed for the extreme summer heat of those days. The summer hit was considered a typical song for transistor radios . In the US hit parade he reached first place on August 13, 1966 and stayed in this position for 3 weeks. He also achieved number one hit status in Canada (2 weeks) and the Netherlands . The title sold 1.8 million copies worldwide. It ranks 401 in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 best songs of all time . The LP Hums of the Lovin 'Spoonful (1966) took over the hit.

Cover versions

There are numerous cover versions of the title - including The Marmalade (1968), BB King (1972), Quincy Jones (1973), The Drifters (1976), Red Face (1980), David Essex (1993), Joe Cocker (1994) , Isaac Hayes (1995), The Stranglers (1997), Joe Jackson (2000), Styx (2005) or Manfred Mann's Earth Band (2005).

The instrumentation of the Joe Cocker version emphasizes the contrast between the heat of the day and the coolness of the night: the latter has a light, dance-like rhythm without changing the tempo.

Use as a soundtrack

In 1970 Wim Wenders made his graduation film at the University of Television and Film with the title Summer in the City . The song is heard at the end of the film, which takes place in wintry Berlin. Because of the unauthorized takeover of music titles, the film cannot be loaned out; it is only shown at festivals.

The song also appeared in the opening scene of the action film Die Hard: Now Even More (1995) and in the feature film Verliebte Jungs (2001) and in an episode of The Simpsons ("Papa's Got a Brand New Badge"; 2002).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lovin 'Spoonful Version
  2. Uncut Magazine, June 2014, John Sebastian Interview
  3. David Nathan / Susan Gedutis Lindsay, Inside the Hits , 2001, p. 250 ff.
  4. Michael Ruppli / Ed Novitsky, The MGM Labels Discography 1961-1982 , Vol. 2, 1998, p. 242
  5. ^ Joseph Murrells, Million Selling Records , 1985, p. 225