You need a soundtrack for summer: mellow songs for watching the sun set, classic songs for drinking a beer with a buddy on the back deck, big songs for rocking out in the car, windows down, on the way to the beach.

We’re not just talking the fleeing hits that dominate one season: the “Call Me Maybe”s and “Cruise”s of the world. No, these are songs that stay with you. Songs you know all the words to, that you turn up as soon as the weather warms. Songs that make you feel free and relaxed, happy, invincible.

That’s how Lake Erie makes you feel, right?

We aim to capture our lake love with 25 songs of summer, of water and waves and boardwalks and bays. These picks range from the 1950s until now, pop and country and whatever. Some of them even mention our Great Lake and Cuyahoga River. (Others, feel free to substitute “lake” for “ocean.”)

In the old days, you could make a mix tape or a burn a CD for your boombox. Now, go ahead and add these songs to your iPod playlist. And if you’ve got other I-can’t-believe-you-missed-this ideas, let us know on Facebook.

Here’s the Spotify playlist. Below are the YouTube videos.

Happy listening!

  1. “Burn On” — Randy Newman


2. “Lake Erie Love” — Walker Hayes

3. “All Summer Long” — Kid Rock

4. “Proud Mary” (“Rolling on the River”) — Ike and Tina Turner

5. “Cake by the Ocean” — DNCE

6. “Water” — Brad Paisley

7. “Summertime Blues” — Eddie Cochran

8. “Daylight” — Matt and Kim

9. “Come Sail Away” — Styx

10. “Heat Wave” — Martha and the Vandellas

11. “Anna Sun” — Walk the Moon

12. “Heard it Through the Grapevine” — Marvin Gaye

13. “Summertime” — DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

14. “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” — Otis Redding

15. “Blister in the Sun” — Violent Femmes


16. “Under the Boardwalk” — The Drifters

17. “Summer of ’69” — Bryan Adams

18. “Fantastic Voyage” — Lakeside

19. “Anything but Mine” — Kenny Chesney

20. “Surfin’ Safari” — The Beach Boys

21. “Summer Girls” — LFO

22. “Summer in the City” — Lovin’ Spoonfull

23. “The Way We Get By” — Spoon

24. “Fins” — Jimmy Buffett

25. “Summer” — Calvin Harris