Somehow this particular column has become a midsummer tradition.
It all started in the heat of 2011 with a piece about my all-time favorite summer songs, and why I felt that way about them. The ensuing avalanche of email, notes and phone calls following that initial column was unexpected, but I catalogued all of your responses and put together an updated list of summer favorites the following year. I have done the same each year since.
For some reason, it seems, summer songs have a special hold on us -- and looking over many of your responses since we started this tradition, it appears the most popular genre of summer song is the one that deals with summer love.
Plenty of our favorite summer songs have romanticized about the beach, hot cars and good times, but most of our favorites -- or at least most of the responses you have sent me -- are tied to affairs of the heart, especially at a younger age.
I wrote in 2011 about how a particular song always made me think of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl named Debbie. She was officially my first summer love. We were each 12 years old, and we both loved NASCAR. When summer ended, so did our love -- if that's what holding hands and an occasional kiss on the cheek could be called during that period when sixth grade ends in the spring and seventh grade begins in the fall.
Early in the autumn, Debbie moved and took my love with her. That innocent story seemed to trigger many similar remembrances from readers -- and the songs they identified with those experiences.
That's what sparked the idea for this year's summer song column: All love songs, all the time --those radio friendly tunes that never leave our subconscious. This year's favorite summer song list contains a few of my favorites, but mostly suggestions you have sent in since this "tradition" started.
We'll count them down in reverse order:
10. "All Summer Long," Kid Rock (2008): This modern classic was No. 1 in eight countries and sampled both "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Werewolves of London."
9. "See You in September," The Happenings (1966): This one always makes me wonder how many summer romances actually stand the test of time.
8. "Would It Be Nice," Beach Boys (1966): Brian Wilson's lyrics describe a young couple in love, fantasizing about how nice it would be if they were adults. How many of us went through that stage?
7. "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth," Meat Loaf (1977): This classic was originally the "B" side to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."
6. "Walkin' On Sunshine," Katrina and the Waves (1985): A great feel-good song to have playing when and your significant other were headed to the beach or the park.
5. "Theme from a Summer Place" Percy Faith and his Orchestra (1960): The only instrumental in the group is always instantly recognizable.
4. "Summer Nights," Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta (1978): Who doesn't long for a return to the days of Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson?
3. "Summer Side of Life," Gordon Lightfoot (1971): The Canadian troubadour told us, "There were young girls everywhere, On the summer side of life."
2. "Summer Song," Chad and Jeremy (1964): This is one of those songs that has stood the test of time, largely because of lyrics like this: "Soft kisses on a summer's day, Laughing all our cares away, Just you and I."
1. "Love Is All Around," The Troggs (1966): This is No. 257 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 greatest songs of all-time. Well, that may true, but it's the No. 1 summer love song-- ever. And after all of these years, I still feel it in my fingers, I feel it my toes, love is all around me and so the feeling grows.