10 classic rock songs to prepare you for summertime

Bob Seger Plays Atlanta Stadium
Bob Seger Plays Atlanta Stadium / Tom Hill/GettyImages

Summertime is a great time to create a classic rock playlist to enjoy on those hot summer nights. Below are 10 suggestions to add to your summertime playlist that will keep you in the summer mood all season long. We've included a curated playlist with many more great '70s summertime songs.

Not all the songs are summer related, but they give the vibe of warm nights, summer love, or some other emotion related to the summertime, or the song is just a jam perfect for those hot months of the season.

  1. "Hollywood Nights" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band was released in 1978 from the album Stranger in Town. Seger was inspired to write this song while driving in the Hollywood Hills, and a chorus was stuck in his head "Hollywood nights/Hollywood hills/Above all the lights/Hollywood nights." It tells of a Midwest guy who meets a beautiful woman and gets caught up in big-city life.
  2. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult from the Agents of Fortune album was released in 1976 and written by the band's guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser. This song is the bands highest charting single reaching No. 12 on Billboard Hot 100. It tells of eternal love and inevitable death.
  3. "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek song about life on the road, and one of the band members sees a gal in the crowd he wants to meet. But by the time the show is over, interviews are done, etc., she's gone. Lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones co-wrote the song.
  4. "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac is a song about strained relationships, but it has an up-tempo feel that just feels much lighter. Released in 1976 as the first single from the album Rumours, it would go on to become the band's first top-ten hit in the US and was written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham, who wrote the song in response to his break up with Stevie Nicks, his fellow Fleetwood Mac vocalist.
  5. "School's Out" by Alice Cooper was the only single released from the same title album and would become the most significant international hit and signature song. Cooper was inspired to write this song when asked, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" In his mind, it was Christmas just before opening presents and the last three minutes of the last day of school. He wanted to capture that in a song.
  6. "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) was sung and written by Randy Bachman, and even though it is a song about working, it is a song that gets hands clapping and feet stomping. The lyrics were originally "White Collar Worker" and were changed to "Taking Care of Business," a self-ironic glance at glamourous rock stars vs. the working class.
  7. "Let's Go" by The Cars comes from the band's second studio album, Candy-O, written by Ric Ocasek and sung by bassist Benjamin Orr. The song tells of a young girl and her growing interest in the nightlife. Interesting trivia, "Let's Go" was the 100th video played on MTV's first day on August 1, 1981.
  8. "Barracuda" by Heart is a guitar-heavy song that must be included in a summertime playlist. Released in 1977 from the band's third album, Little Queen, the song was in response to a made-up story by Mushroom Records as a publicity stunt regarding an incestuous relationship between the Wilson sisters.
  9. "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent was a single released from the same-titled album in 1977. This song's electric guitar riff made the song, which is all about sex, famous. The cat represents a woman, while the fever is lust in this song, which VH1 named the 32nd best hard song ever.
  10. "My Sharona" by The Knack was featured on the band's debut album, Get the Knack. The song reached No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for six weeks.

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