The Rolling Stones, “Summer Romance”: Gotta be the least sentimental end-of-summer song ever. Not the most socially correct one either, as Mick kisses off his school-aged summer love: “I’m a serious man, I got serious lusts, gonna have to do away with this greasy kid stuff.” Gets you right here, doesn’t it?
Graham Parker, “Back to Schooldays”: A classically snotty Parker rocker, this is really a fantasy about transporting your adult self back to the kids you knew in grade school and setting ’em right about the workings of the real world. Local connection: Transplanted-to-New Orleans keyboardist Bob Andrews.
Loudon Wainwright III: “Summer’s Almost Over”: During the late ’70s the maverick songwriter was signed to the Arista label, who really thought he’d write them a hit single. Then he wrote lyrics like “Summer’s almost over, a new season’s coming up/ Time to gird your loins and don your jockstrap and your cup.” Arista let him go soon after.
Earth, Wind & Fire, “September”: One of the classic EWF jams, though it’s anybody’s guess why the 21st of September is picked as the night when romance began. Apparently proof that it can happen any old time.
Gary U.S. Bonds, “School Is In”: The early-’60s rocker scored a hit in June 1961 with “School is Out,” so why not a sequel three months later? That one hit too, going to Number 20, but getting all excited about going back to class was a lot less convincing.
Elvis Costello, “The Other Side of Summer”: Costello in his weird bearded phase, using a Beach Boys pastiche to get cranky about virtually everything— including John Lennon and Roger Waters who get dissed in the lyrics.
Buffalo Tom, “Summer”: Teen angst ’90s style, as singer/writer Bill Janovitz buries a season that didn’t sound like too much fun in the first place. Any optimism for a new season comes via the power chords.
Sparks, “Over the Summer”: The longstanding cult band—touring this fall—has a warped take on just about everything, and this ode to a love that bloomed over the summer is no exception: “I tried to find myself this summertime, but I found you instead/And please forgive me Karen, but in June you were kinda dead.”
The Beach Boys, “All Summer Long”: Famously used in the last scene of American Graffiti, and the most wistful song of the Boys’ early stretch. Since local summers continue through Halloween, you can always grab onto Brian Wilson’s boast: “Won’t be long till summertime is through…not for us, now!”