Beach Music Playlist

I lied ... this isn't actually a playlist, but a list of artists/genres that belong on any decent, self-respecting beach playlist.  Use these as suggestions for compiling your own perfect selection of beach tunes!
  1. Anything by the Beach Boys.  Even their songs that aren't about summer or the beach sound like they're about summer or the beach.
  2. Anything by Jimmy Buffet.  Ditto.
  3. Hollywood at the Beach music.  Invoke your inner Frankie Avalon or Annette Funicello by dancing to the music they danced to in their legendary beach movies: Wipeout (Herbie Hancock); anything by The Pyramids, Donna Loren, the Bobby Fuller 4 or Dick Dale and the Del Tones; and, of course, any song actually performed by Frankie and/or Annette (they could foil motorcycle gangs, tan AND sing!)
  4. Laid-back R&B.  That laid back R&B groove from the '50s is a perfect match for hot summer afternoons - and hot summer nights!  I respectfully suggest anything by the Drifters, Temptations, Platters,  Marvin Gaye, the Righteous Brothers, the Mamas & Papas, or the Four Tops.
  5. Shag/Carolina Beach Music. The shag is the official state song of South Carolina and the unofficial dance of summer.  Shag music is hard to define but is sort of cross between Hollywood beach music and R&B. Classics of the genre include: anything by Chairmen of the Board, the Embers, the Fantastic Shakers, the Catalinas, the Tams, the Coastline Band, Bill Deal & the Rhondels, Delbert McCLinton, Holiday Band, Heart and Soul, Band of Oz, Georgia Prophets, Billy Scott, or North Tower; Teasin' You (Willy Tee); Girl Watcher (O'Kaysions); Brenda (OC Smith); Lady Soul (Temptations); Mrs. Grace (Tymes); or Sixty Minute Man (Billy Ward and the Dominoes)
  6. Songs about summer or the sea.  If a song has "summer" in the title, it's a sure bet for the beach!  Suggestions include: Summertime (Louis Armstrong); Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly and the Family Stone); Summer in the City (Lovin' Spoonful);  Summertime (Fresh Prince); Cruel Summer (Bananarama); It's Too Darn Hot (South Pacific soundtrack); Hot Summer Nights (Grease soundtrack); Sea of Love (Honeydrippers); and Hot Summer Nights (Night).  Oh - and don't forget the theme to Hawaii 5-0! 
  7. Songs that make you happy.  I personally feel that a beach playlist should contain songs that make you feel happy.  Here are some that do it for me: Don't Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin); What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong); Don't Stop Believing (Journey); Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades (Timbuk 3); C'est La Vie (Robbie Nevil); Pocketful of Sunshine (Natasha Bedingfield); Ain't Nothin' Wrong With That (Robert Randolph); Feeling Good (Michael Buble); I'm So Excited (Pointer Sisters); Beautiful Life (Ace of Base); and Sing, Sing, Sing (Benny Goodman)
  8. Songs that make you want to dance.  If you're one of those energetic beach types - always playing frisbee or building something out of sand - do be sure to include tunes that make your pulse race.  I respectfully suggest the following: anything by Michael Jackson, Bananarama, Van Halen/David Lee Roth, or Huey Lewis and the News; or anything with the word "disco" or "bootie" in the title
  9. Silly songs.  Is there a better time to indulge your frivolous side than reclining seaside with a book in one hand and a drink in the other?  Some silly novelty songs that I've found work well on the beach: Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers); I Like to Move It (Madagascar soundtrack); Puttin' on the Ritz (Irving Berlin); Love Potion #9 (The Searchers); Rock Lobster, Love Shack (B-52s); YMCA, Macho Man (Village People);  Copa Cabana (Barry Manilow); and Oh Yeah (Yello).
  10. Anything Caribbean/Reggae.  Nothing says "vacation" quite like Jamaican!  Some perennial favorites include the Red, Red Wine (UB40); Banana Boat Song (Harry Belafonte); Caribbean Queen (Billy Ocean); Hot, Hot, Hot (Buster Poindexter); and, of course, anything performed by Bob Marley.
  11. Anything Hawaiian.  You could start at Don Ho but I wouldn't stay there for long!  Instead, try more authentic artists like Ku`uipo Kumukahi, Keali`i Reichel, or the Brothers Cazimero; Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's gorgeous version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow; or any other tune sung to the accompaniment of a eukalale. 
  12. Mellow classics.  If you prefer music as smooth as the sound of the waves sliding onto shore, I respectfully suggest the following performers: Sade, Chicago, Carly Simon, Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, or any performer doing their version of the Cole Porter songbook.
  13. Cuban music.  Cuban music may be a little hot and smoky for your typical family beach, but it's just the ticket for a hot summer night with your loved one!  Don't worry about genre (mamba, salsa, danzon, son, bolero, etc.) - they're all good.  For a quick overview, I recommend anything by Damaso Perez Prado, Buena Vista Social Club, AfroCuba Matanzos, or Celia Cruz.
  14. Instrumental.  If you don't want voices cluttering up your enjoyment of sand and surf, it doesn't get any better than the Gipsy Kings.  Not sure why they go along so well with summer, but they just do.

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