Summer in the City
|"Summer in the City"|
|Single by The Lovin' Spoonful|
|from the album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful|
|Released||July 4, 1966|
|Writer(s)||John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, Steve Boone[a 1]|
|The Lovin' Spoonful singles chronology|
It appeared on their album Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966, for three consecutive weeks. The song features a series of car horns during the instrumental bridge, starting with a Volkswagen Beetle horn, and ends up with a jackhammer sound, in order to give the impression of the sounds of the summer in the city. The song is ranked number 401 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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.
Media appearances 
The song was featured on The Simpsons episode "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", Only Fools and Horses episode "Miami Twice", in the opening scenes of the Bruce Willis action film Die Hard with a Vengeance, in a 2006 Gatorade commercial, the 1994 PBS documentary Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns, in the 1989 movie The Karate Kid, Part III, in an advert for the UK retailer Marks & Spencer and in a commercial for Dutch brewer Grolsch. The song was used in the Debenhams advert "Actor". The song was also featured on the television show Family Ties, when Steven Keaton (Michael Gross) sings the first few lyrics while narrating a home movie. Its tune was used in a psychedelic arrangement for Russian movie Tvoyu Mat, made by Soyuz for the RTR channel in 1996.
On a VH1 Classic episode of Classic Albums featuring Disraeli Gears by Cream, it was asserted that the predominant guitar riff of the song "Tales of Brave Ulysses" from Disraeli Gears was inspired by the keyboard riff of "Summer in the City."
The song was featured in German art-director Wim Wenders' first film, 1970's Summer in the City. Comedians Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen sang the song on the 2004 season finale of Saturday Night Live during a sketch that contained different cast members singing songs that had a summer theme. "Summer in the City" was used as background music on American Idol Season 8 during tryouts in Phoenix, Arizona.
Chart performance 
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||1|
|Dutch Singles Chart||2|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||3|
|UK Singles Chart||8|
Covers and samples 
Cover versions of the song include B.B. King in 1972, "Inner Circle" in 1980, Quincy Jones in 1973, Canadian Rockers "The Stampeders" on their 1975 Album "Steamin", Max Werner on his 1981 album Seasons, Tim Curry in 1982, Joe Cocker in 1993, and The Stranglers on their 1997 album Written in Red. In 2000, Joe Jackson released a live album titled Summer in the City: Live in New York, which opens with a cover of the song. The band Eat released a cover of the song in 1989. Country music artist Larry Stewart recorded it on his 1999 album Learning to Breathe. The Butthole Surfers covered the song on "Music for Our Mother Ocean (MOM)" Series No. 3 released in 1999. Styx covered the song on their "Big Bang Theory" released in 2005. It was also sampled by Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip in 2006 for their song "First Time We Met Musik". A modified version of the chorus was used in the third single Thru Ya City from Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump by De La Soul, Feat. D.V. Alias Khrist. In 2008, Barry Hay (The leadsinger of Golden Earring) covered this song together with the Metropole Orchestra.
The Quincy Jones cover of "Summer in the City" has been sampled by Massive Attack in the song "Exchange" from their acclaimed album Mezzanine, Nightmares on Wax in his song "Night's Interlude" on the album Smokers Delight, and also by The Pharcyde on their seminal hit "Passin' Me By" from the album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. It has also been sampled by Black Moon on their 1994 song "Reality" and also sampled by Joe on the remix to his 2001 hit "Stutter". Another cover, by the Gutter Brothers appeared on the soundtrack to the Only Fools and Horses film "Miami Twice". The song has also been covered by UK jazz-dance act, Incognito on the 2006 album Bees + Things + Flowers.
- Although John Sebastian wrote most of the Lovin' Spoonful's original material, this song was a collaboration between him, the group's bassist Steve Boone, and Sebastian's brother (and non-group member) Mark Sebastian.
- The Billboard Book of Number One Hits Published: 1988
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