Belfast Telegraph

From Madonna to Cliff, what's the best sound of summer?

Everybody has a fave song for when the sun shines. Kerry McKittrick asks well-known people to name that tune

How do you spend your summers? Maybe you prefer lazing on a sunny afternoon or hitting the beach for a surfin' safari while you feel the breeze on your face.

Now that school's well and truly out, those lazy, hazy days can get under way, but no summer break would be complete without its accompanying soundtrack, whether it's the bouncy optimism of Madonna's aptly-named Holiday or the evocative strains of the Beach Boys. As the summer gets going in earnest, we asked some well-known local people to share their favourite sounds of the season with us.

"My favourite song is Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday. It would have been a hit in 1962 when I was 15. I had my first job as a petrol pump attendant filling up Morris Minors and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was also the time my mother sent me off on a Lough Swilly bus to Donegal to my granny for a holiday. That was my summer holiday and Cliff seemed to encapsulate the whole thing when I was paddling around Sheephaven Bay.

There's also the Bryan Adams' song Summer of '69. Although it wasn't released until 1985, it reminds me now of the year I started my teaching career and finally left home. It was the first time I could legally take a drink and I started to stand on my own two feet.

My favourite thing about summer is nature. I live out in the country and I think that everything is at its best during the summer. The world is an idyllic place and I'm very lucky that I can see it like that and relax from the humdrum of politics."

Laura Lacole (25) is a glamour model from east Belfast. She says:

"There's a song that's always played in the summer called Beach Ball by Nalin and Kane. It's a classic from 1997 and it's always pulled out by DJs and played through the summer – I can remember it from my childhood.

I also love Holiday, by Madonna. It's the kind of song I would listen to on the plane on my way to somewhere sunny.

I love the summer mostly for the weather. It makes people more positive as soon as they wake up in the morning and you can even get out of bed quicker. People are happier and smile at each other on the street."

Trevor Lunn (68) is the Alliance Party MLA for Lagan Valley and lives in Lisburn with his wife Laureen. They have two grown-up children, Cathy (39) and Stephanie (36). He says:

"My choice isn't so much a summer song but it's one that reminds me of the summer. It's Dusty Springfield's I Don't Know What To Do With Myself. The song was released in June 1964 when I was going on my last Boys' Brigade camp at Galloway, near Millisle, when I was 18. I'd left school in June and was about to start work in the insurance business in August.

That was the age of transistor radios and there were a lot in the campsite that year. It was a very popular song and you'd hear it wafting across the site a few times a day.

I also love Read All About It by Emeli Sande, – she performed it at the opening ceremony of the Olympics in London 2012 and that's come to symbolise a great summer for me.

A good summer lifts everyone. You can see people here with a smile on their face because the nice weather relaxes everyone."

Kerry McLean (39) presents on BBC Radio Ulster Monday to Thursday from 3pm. She lives in Ballymoney with her husband, and fellow broadcaster, Ralph and their children, Tara (7) and Dan (6). She says:

"My favourite summer song is Cry To Me by Solomon Burke, from the movie soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. I was 11 years old when that film came out, and me and my friend Sharon spent the entire summer learning all of the dance routines from the entire movie. When I want to get in the summer mood then I put that soundtrack on.

The best thing about the summer is the beach. We live there during the summer and we can still be there at 10pm with the kids, who I allow to stay up so they're in a foul mood the next day because they haven't had enough sleep. We go down with picnics as soon as I finish work and the boys bring a football down to kick around."

Gerry Kelly (66) presents his show on BBC Radio Ulster on Fridays and Saturdays between 3-5pm. He lives in Coney Island, Co Down, with his wife Helena and they have two grown-up daughters, Sarah and Claire. He says:

"I'm choosing The House Of The Rising Sun, by The Animals. It takes me back to when I was a young teenager in the mid-1960s. It was around that time when I stayed out in Ballyhornet where a friend of mine had a house near the beach. I would spend almost the entire summer out there.

There was a crowd of young fellows and young girls and we would listen to a big old transistor radio that we took out to the beach every day.

Radio Caroline was very big at the time and they played all the big hits of the day.

No matter where we were on the beach, if The House Of The Rising Sun came on we would whistle to each other and everyone would come racing over to listen.

It still reminds me of those idyllic days as a teenager in the summer.

My favourite thing about summer used to be when I was working in television because we would be off air all summer and we could disappear off on holidays with the children.

It's all changed now because the children don't live with us anymore and it's back to work!"

Emma Fitzpatrick (36) is a Citybeat DJ and lives in Belfast. She says:

"The Foo Fighters Learn To Fly. It's really upbeat and reminds me of when I went to see them live at Slane.

I travelled down with a band called Feeder, and Queens Of The Stone Age and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were playing. It was an amazing night and I ended up just dancing to the Foo Fighters on my own.

I went down to Slane to see Bon Jovi play last year and a list of the past concerts there had been put up. That Foo Fighters gig was in 2003, I can't believe it was that long ago. I also saw the Foo Fighters at Tennents Vital in Belfast more recently, which again was one of the best concerts I've ever been to."

Danny Kinahan (56) is an Ulster Unionst MLA and lives in Templepatrick with his wife Anna and their children, Eliza (20), Tara (19), Hugo (17) and Mia (15). He says:

"I think my song would have to be Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime. It reminds me of our summers in Ballycastle where we all used to congregate as teenagers with dances in each other's houses.

I grew up with three older sisters who all loved music so for their little brother every room was full of music. I've tried to pass that on to my own children although I might not agree with their taste.

That particular song was on a mix tape of holiday songs that got played over and over again in my old mini.

My favourite thing about summer is getting a chance to spend time with my family, instead of concentrating on the sins of the world."

Sun, sea and and the best songs

Other classic summer tunes include:

  • Sunny Afternoon, The Kinks – the breezy rhythm and chirpy vocals behind this Sixties classic belie the song's references to the high levels of tax taken which were being taken by the Labour government of Harold Wilson at the time
  • Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison – there's just something about that jangly guitar and upbeat tempo that makes it a must for a long drive on a sunny day
  • Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald and Louise Armstrong – the smokey vocals of Ella Fitzgerald were the perfect vehicle for George Gershwin's slow-burning standard from his opera Porgy and Bess
  • Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince – love him or loathe him, Will Smith certainly knew how to make a crowd move, as he and his pop cohort Jazzy Jeff showed with this number
  • Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles – George Harrison described writing this catchy tune while escaping the demands of his record company at Eric Clapton's house
  • Lovely Day, Bill Withers – the likes of Diana Ross and Des O'Connor have covered this gorgeously evocative track by the US soul singer
  • California Soul, Marlena Shaw – the US singer covered the song on the album The Spice of Life in 1969 and since then it has been further covered and sampled numerous times by other artists
  • Sun is Shining, Bob Marley vs Funkstar Deluxe – this 1999 reggae fusion remix by of the Bob Marley song reached number one on the US dance chart and number three on the UK Singles Chart
  • The Girl from Ipanema, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto – this bossa nova classic was the perfect evocation of exotic Brazil during the mid-Sixties
  • Staying Out for The Summer, Dodgy – encapsulating the indie slacker culture of the mid-nineties with its upbeat rhythm, this tune from the English trio was a favourite throughout the decade and beyond

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