“When the weather’s fine, we go fishing or go swimming in the sea, we’re always happy, life’s for living, yeah, that’s our philosophy.” The words could be on a billboard you pass on your way out to the East End, but the Billboard charts are actually a better source of these poetics to live by, from the latest treasure in our Top 100 Songs of Summer Countdown.
Hamptons 100 Songs of Summer #28
“In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
Sometimes classics take years to evolve, other times they arrive in a sunburst of inspiration. Legend has it that band founder Ray Dorset spent only ten minutes writing what would become one of the biggest-selling singles in history—estimates of 30 million have been bandied about. Topping charts across the globe, from Argentina to Belgium to Canada, Poland to Singapore to the U.K., this 1970 smash from the British band (yes, Mungo Jerry is many men, not just one) was first released as a maxi-single, that rare breed played at 33 rpm, not 45, and contained a pair of songs on the A side and one on the B side.
Here in the U.S. it hit Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and did for romantic bike rides in Wedding Crashers what “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” did for them in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Having maintained its popularity for more than four decades, the song has been covered by everyone from punk bands to Disney kids to Shaggy, who altered the lyrics “have a drink, have a drive” to a more times-reflective “I’m going to ride and drive.” That may indeed prove a trend for future covers, but all future versions will no doubt leave in and continue to live by the timeless refrain:
“In the summer time when the weather is high, you can stretch right up and touch the sky.”