This week, leading up to the official start of summer, we're taking a look at the definitive summer songs of all time, based on their seasonal popularity on Billboard's Hot 100 charts. It's about to get very, very mellow as we head back to the 1970s. Here's a link to the first installment, covering 1959-1969.
1970: "(They Long to Be) Close To You," The Carpenters
Weeks at No. 1: July 25-Aug. 15
Written by: Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Interesting fact: Richard Chamberlain (yes, the actor) originally released this song in 1963. Also, the above video is great if you've ever wanted to see Karen Carpenter sit in a giant "U."
Happening in the summer of 1970: U.S. ground troops withdraw from Cambodia; Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh opens; Israel fights Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon; the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega are introduced; "Monday Night Football" debuts on ABC.
1971: "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move," Carole King
Weeks at No. 1: June 19-July 17
Written by: Carole King and Toni Stern ("It's Too Late"); Carole King ("I Feel the Earth Move")
Interesting fact: Toni Stern told author Sheila Weller that she wrote the lyrics to "It's Too Late" after breaking up with James Taylor (who was also a friend of King's). Awkward.
Happening in the summer of 1971: Jim Morrison dies in Paris; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens; Reggie Jackson's home run in the All-Star Game hits the transformer on the roof of Tiger Stadium; rappers Tupac Shakur and Missy Elliott are born.
1972: "Alone Again (Naturally)," Gilbert O'Sullivan
Weeks at No. 1: July 29-Aug. 19
Written by: Gilbert O'Sullivan
Interesting fact: Nothing quite says "summer" like a song about suicide and questioning the existence of God. The much-more upbeat "Lean on Me" by BIll Withers was the second-biggest song of the summer of 1972.
Happening the summer of 1972: President Nixon tells his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman that the FBI should stop investigating the Watergate burglary; Atari is incorporated in California; the death penalty is abolished (for a time) by the U.S. Supreme Court; "Fiddler on the Roof" closes on Broadway; actress Jane Fonda poses with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi; Under Amour CEO and founder Kevin Plank is born.
1973: "My Love," Paul McCartney and Wings
Weeks at No. 1: June 2-June 23
Written by: Paul McCartney
Interesting fact: Richard Hewson, who conducted the live orchestra when "My Love" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, also worked with the Beatles on the songs "Across the Universe," " The Long and Winding Road" and "I Me Mine."
Happening in the summer of 1973: W. Mark Felt (later revealed as Watergate source "Deep Throat") retires from the FBI and David Bowie "retires" his Ziggy Stardust persona; Bruce Lee dies and Monica Lewinsky is born; the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is formed; former White House aide Alexander Butterfield tells the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee that President Nixon secretly records private conversations and that they could be incriminating.
1974: "(You're) Having My Baby," Paul Anka and Odia Coates
Weeks at No. 1: Aug. 24-Sept. 7
Written by: Paul Anka
Interesting fact: This was voted as the No. 1 "worst song" of all time in a 2006 CNN poll. That may have to do with the line "seed inside you" line. Or, like, all of the lines.
Happening in the summer of 1974: President Nixon announces his resignation and Gerald Ford becomes the 38th president; news anchor Christine Chubbuck commits suicide during a live broadcast; the Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time, to sell a package of Wrigley's gum.
1975: "Love Will Keep Us Together," Captain & Tennille
Weeks at No. 1: June 21-July 12
Written by: Neil Sedaka (who first recorded the song) and Howard Greenfield
Interesting fact: Toni Tennille filed for divorce from the Captain (Daryl Dragon) last year.
Happening in the summer of 1975: Former Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing; fugitive Patty Hearst is captured; the Louisiana Superdome (now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) opens in New Orleans; Jack White and 50 Cent are born; the film "Jaws" is released.
1976: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," Elton John and Kiki Dee
Weeks at No. 1: Aug. 7-28
Written by: Elton John and Bernie Taupin, using the pseudonyms "Ann Orson" and "Carte Blanche." The '70s were a different time.
Interesting fact: John performed this song with Miss Piggy on a 1977 episode of "The Muppet Show."
Happening in the summer of 1976: America celebrates its 200th birthday; North Vietnam and South Vietnam unite to form the socialist Republic of Vietnam; Jimmy Carter is nominated for president of the United States; serial killer The Son of Sam starts his murder spree; the band the Ramones make their professional debut in New York City.
1977: "Best of My Love," The Emotions
Weeks at No. 1: Aug. 20-Sept. 10
Written by: Maurice White and Al McKay, both of the band Earth, Wind & Fire
Interesting fact: Mariah Carey's 1991 song "Emotions," "sounds suspiciously like the '77 hit 'Best of My Love' (by the Emotions)," the Sun Sentinel wrote in a review of the Carey single. It was reported that "Best of My Love" is one of Carey's favorite songs.
Happening in the summer of 1977: Elvis Presley dies at his home, Graceland, in Memphis, Tenn.; a blackout in New York City lasts 25 hours; Carter creates the United States Department of Energy; Groucho Marx dies; the Commodore PET computer is first sold.
1978: "Shadow Dancing," Andy Gibb
Weeks at No.1: June 17-July 29
Written by:Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy Gibb
Interesting fact: The first time Andy and his brothers (aka: the Bee Gees) performed together on stage, they sang "Shadow Dancing."
Happening in the summer of 1978: The world's first "test tube baby," Louise Brown, is born in Manchester, United Kingdom; the Camp David Accords are signed between Israel and Egypt; Pope Paul VI dies and is succeeded by Pope John Paul I, who dies after serving 33 days.
1979: "My Sharona," The Knack
Weeks at No. 1 Aug. 25-Sept. 29
Written by: Berton Averre, the band's guitarist, and Doug Fiegler, the band's lead singer
Interesting fact: The titular lady is Sharona Alperin, Fiegler's girlfriend (who was 17 years old when they met) at the time. Alperin posed for the single's cover art.
Happening in the summer of 1979: The Sony Walkman goes on sale for the first time in Japan; Los Angeles passes a gay and lesbian civil rights bill; Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq; ESPN is launched.