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.


Breaking Up Is Hard To Do Playlist

Compiling this list made me reflect on how similar mourning the death of a relationship is to mourning the death of a loved one.  If you're very, very lucky, you may finally achieve the poignant acceptance of moving on (I'm Moving On, You're My Favorite Mistake), but first you have to pass through anger (Hit the Road Jack, Love Stinks), denial (I Ain't Missing You), negotiation (Baby Come Back, At This Moment), and regret (Even Now, Hard Habit to Break).  

Call me a hopeful romantic, but my favorites are the ones that, while acknowledging that both parties may have gone their Separate Ways, hold out the hope that maybe, Somewhere Down the Road, Against All Odds, things may yet work out.  Where there's love, there's hope ...!

  1. Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cyrus
  2. Against All Odds, Phil Collins
  3. Ain't No Sunshine, Bill Withers
  4. All By Myself, xxx
  5. All Out of Love, Air Supply
  6. Always on My Mind, Elvis Presley 
  7. At This Moment, Billy Vera
  8. Baby Come Back, Player
  9. Bluer Than Blue, Michael Johnson
  10. Burn, Usher
  11. Careless Whisper, George Michael
  12. Crazy, Patsy Cline
  13. Cry Me A River, Justin Timberlake
  14. Crying, Ray Orbison
  15. Damage Is Done, Foreigner
  16. Don't Speak, No Doubt
  17. Even Now, Barry Manilow
  18. Everybody Needs A Little Time Away, Chicago
  19. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison
  20. Every Time We Say Goodbye, Rod Stewart
  21. Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill
  22. First Cut is the Deepest, Rod Stewart
  23. Good Riddance, Green Day
  24. Goodbye Girl, Bread
  25. Goodbye to You, Scandal
  26. Hard Habit to Break, Chicago
  27. Hard to Say I'm Sorry, Chicago
  28. Heart of the Matter, Don Henley
  29. Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley
  30. Hit the Road Jack, Ray Charles
  31. How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, Michael Bolton
  32. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, Bee Gees
  33. How Do I Live, Trisha Yearwood
  34. Hurt, Nine Inch Nails
  35. Hurt So Bad, Little Anthony
  36. I Ain't Missing You, John Waite
  37. I Don't Care Anymore, Phil Collins
  38. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Elton John
  39. I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye
  40. I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack
  41. I Was A Fool (to Let You Go), Barry Manilow
  42. I Will Remember You, Sarah McLachlan
  43. I Will Survive, Stephanie Bentley
  44. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
  45. I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now, Ray Charles
  46. If You Leave, OMD
  47. If You Leave Me Now, Chicago
  48. I'm Moving On, Rascal Flatts
  49. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank Williams
  50. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
  51. It's My Turn, Diana Ross
  52. It's Too Late, Carole King
  53. Last Goodbye, Jeff Buckley
  54. Look Away, Chicago
  55. Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Faith Hill
  56. Love on the Rocks, Neil Diamond
  57. Love Stinks, J. Geils Band
  58. Lyin' Eyes, Eagles
  59. Memory, Barbra Streisand
  60. My Favorite Mistake, Sheryl Crow
  61. My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion
  62. New Attitude, Patti Lbelle
  63. One Last Cry, Brian McKnight
  64. Over You, Daughtry
  65. Please Don't Go, KWS
  66. Right Here Waiting, Richard Marx
  67. Send Her My Love, Journey
  68. Separate Ways, Journey
  69. She's Gone, Hall & Oates
  70. Since I Don't Have You, Skyliners
  71. Single Ladies, Beyonce
  72. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Louis Armstrong
  73. Somewhere Down the Road, Barry Manilow
  74. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, Elton John
  75. Stormy Weather, Lena Horne
  76. Take Good Care of My Baby, Bobby Vee
  77. These Boots Are Made For Walkin', Nancy Sinatra
  78. These Eyes, Guess Who
  79. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, Fall Out Boy
  80. Tonight I Wanna Cry, Keith Urban
  81. Too Much Too Little Too Late, Johnny Mathis
  82. Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
  83. Tragedy, Bee Gees
  84. Unbreak My Heart, Tony Braxton
  85. Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers
  86. Usta Be My Girl, O'Jays
  87. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
  88. We Just Disagree, Dave Mason
  89. What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts
  90. Whenever You Come Around, Vince Gill
  91. Wherever You Will Go, The Calling
  92. While You Loved Me, Rascal Flatts
  93. Wicked Game, Chris Isaak
  94. Yesterday, The Beatles
  95. You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi
  96. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
  97. You Won't Forget Me, Carly Simon
  98. You'll Think of Me, Keith Urban
  99. You're Only Someone That I Used to Love, Natalie Cole
  100. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, Righteous Brothers
Did I omit your favorite breakup song? Let me know!


High-Energy Playlist

Here's a playlist for those times when you need a boost of musical adrenelin.  I realize that I could probably just copy the index of any "Club Music CD", but have decided, completely arbitrarily, that that would constitute cheating: instead, I've laboriously culled my music library for my favorite go-to up-tempo classics, sure to leave you feeling both energized, empowered, and possibly craving a disco mirror ball in your bedroom.

  1. 1999 - Prince
  2. 25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago
  3. Accidentally in Love - Counting Crows
  4. Ain't Nothing Wrong With That - Robert Randolph
  5. All Star - Smashmouth
  6. Beat It - Michael Jackson
  7. Beautiful Life - Ace of Base
  8. Blinded By the Light - Manfred Mann
  9. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Andrew Sisters
  10. Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen
  11. Boys Are Back in Town - Tin Lizzy
  12. Couple Days Off - Huey Lewis
  13. Crocodile Rock - Elton John
  14. Dancing Queen - ABBA
  15. Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol
  16. Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
  17. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
  18. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
  19. Fame - Irene Cara
  20. Far From Over, Frank Stallone
  21. Final Countdown - Europe
  22. Firework - Katy Perry
  23. Girl Gets Around - Sammy Hagar
  24. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndy Lauper
  25. Glamorous Life - Shiela E.
  26. Gloria - Laura Brannian
  27. Gonna Fly Now - Rocky soundtrack
  28. Gonna Make You Sweat - C+C Music Factory
  29. Goody 2 Shoes - Adam Ant
  30. Hit Me Up - Gia Farrow
  31. Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles
  32. Holding Out for a Hero - Bonnie Taylor
  33. Hot, Hot, Hot - Buster Poindexter
  34. Hot Stuff - Donna Summer
  35. How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
  36. I Get Around - Beach Boys
  37. I Like to Move It - Sacha Baron Cohen
  38. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
  39. I'll Be There for You - Rembrandts
  40. I'm So Excited - Pointer Sisters
  41. I'm Walking on Sunshine - Katerina & the Waves
  42. It's Raining Men - Weather Girls
  43. It's the End of the World as We Know It - REM
  44. Jump - Pointer Sisters
  45. Jump - Van Halen
  46. Kiss - Tom Jones
  47. Kiss Him Goodbye - Nylons
  48. Legs - ZZ Top
  49. Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
  50. Let's Go Crazy - Prince
  51. Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
  52. Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
  53. Live to Win - Paul Stanley
  54. Love Train - O'Jays
  55. Lovin' Every Minute of It - Loverboy
  56. Macho Man - Village People
  57. Manhunt - Karen Kamon
  58. Maniac - Michael Sembello
  59. Mikki - Toni Braxton
  60. Modern Love - David Bowie
  61. My Sharona - The Knack
  62. New Attitude - Patti LaBelle
  63. Oh Yeah - Yello
  64. One Way or Another - Blondie
  65. Part-Time Lover - Stevie Wonder
  66. Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John
  67. Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
  68. Poison Ivy - Coasters
  69. Proud Mary - Tina Turner
  70. Push It - Salt 'n' Pepa
  71. Rhythm is Gonna Get You - Gloria Estefan
  72. Rock and Roll All Night - Kiss
  73. Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions
  74. Round and Round - Ratt
  75. She's a Lady - Tom Jones
  76. She Works Hard for the Money - Donna Summer
  77. Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman
  78. Single Ladies - Beyonce
  79. Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
  80. Still the One - Orleans
  81. Superfreak - Rick James
  82. That Thing You Do! - Wonders
  83. Theme from Hawaii 5-0
  84. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
  85. Turn the Beat Around - Gloria Estefan
  86. Two Princes - Spin Doctors
  87. Turning Japanese - Vapors
  88. U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer
  89. Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
  90. Venus - Bananarama
  91. Walk This Way - Aerosmith
  92. Waterloo - ABBA
  93. We Will Rock You - Queen
  94. We're an American Band - Grand Funk Railroad
  95. What I Like About You - Romantics
  96. Workin' for the Weedend - Loverboy
  97. Yeah - Usher
  98. YMCA - Village People
  99. You Shook Me All Night Long, AC/DC


Night Driving Playlist

This playlist is for when you're in one of those "moods" - dark, brooding, perhaps a little melancholy.  For those nights when - literally or metaphorically - you're driving down long, dark, barren roads with only your ghosts to keep you company and the borderlands between you and your dark side have shrunk to the width of a lane of darkly glistening highway.  A mood that can only be soothed by songs with dark, brooding lyrics about loss and dispair; horns solos that tear at your heart; and minor chords that jar your soul.
  1. 16 Tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford
  2. Adagio for Strings, Barber (any cover)
  3. Always Something There to Remind Me, Naked Eyes
  4. American Pie, Don McLean
  5. Big John, Tennessee Ernie Ford
  6. Big Man on Mulberry Street, Billy Joel
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
  8. Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits
  9. Cell Block Tango, Soundtrack from Chicago
  10. Cold as Ice, Foreigner
  11. Come Sail Away, Styx
  12. Crazy, Gnarls Barkley
  13. Crying Game, Boy George
  14. The Damage is Done, Foreigner
  15. Desert Rose, Sting
  16. Don't Fear the Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
  17. Downbound Train, Bruce Springsteen
  18. Dream On, Aerosmith
  19. Don't Tell me 'Cause It Hurts, No Doubt
  20. Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash
  21. Gangsta's Paradise, Coolio
  22. Garden of Allah, Don Henley
  23. Ghost Riders in the Sky, Outlaws
  24. Ghosts, Dan Fogelberg
  25. Goodnight Saigon, Billy Joel
  26. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna, Orff (any cover)
  27. Hallelujah, Jeff Buckly
  28. Hazy Shade of Winter, Bangles
  29. Hot Summer Nights, Night
  30. Hotel California, Eagles
  31. House of the Rising Sun, Credence Clearwater Revival
  32. I'm a Fool to Want You, Carly Simon
  33. I'm on Fire, Bruce Springsteen
  34. In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins
  35. In the Midnight Hour, Wilson Picket
  36. Into the Night, B.B. King
  37. Into the Night, Santana
  38. I've Loved These Days, Billy Joel
  39. Kashmir, Led Zeppplin
  40. A Kiss From a Rose, Seal
  41. Lies, Elton John
  42. Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney
  43. The Living Daylights, A-Ha
  44. Logical Song, Supertramp
  45. Lonely in Your Nightmare, Duran Duran
  46. Mad World, Michael Andrews
  47. Maddest Kind of Love, Big Bad Voodoo Daddies
  48. Magic, Ghostbuster's Soundtrack
  49. Mission Impossible Theme, U2
  50. New Religion, Duran Duran
  51. New York Minute, Don Henley
  52. Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky (any cover)
  53. Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues
  54. On the Dark Side, John Cafferty
  55. One, Three Dog Night
  56. One Night in Bangkok, Murray Head
  57. Peter Gunn Theme, Blues Brothers
  58. Piano Man, Billy Joel
  59. Pressure, Billy Joel
  60. Promentary, Soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans
  61. Purple Rain, Prince
  62. Relax, Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  63. Requiem: Lacrimosa, Mozart (any cover)
  64. Riders on the Storm, The Doors
  65. Save a Prayer, Duran Duran
  66. Secret, Maroon 5
  67. Six Silver Strings, B.B. King
  68. Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
  69. Stairway to Heaven, Led Zepplin
  70. The Stranger, Billy Joel
  71. Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
  72. Struggle, Nuttin' But Stringz
  73. Summer in the City, Lovin' Spoonful
  74. Sunglasses at Night, Corey Heart
  75. Sunset Grill, Don Henley
  76. Take On Me, A-Ha
  77. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
  78. They Won't Go When I Go, George Michael
  79. The Thrill is Gone, B.B. King
  80. Thunderball, Tom Jones
  81. Too Low for Zero, Elton John
  82. Too Much Sex, Not Enough Affection, Timbuk 3
  83. Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
  84. Town Without Pity, Brian Setzer
  85. Trouble, Bitter:Sweet
  86. Twilight Zone, ManhattanTransfer
  87. Unfaithful, Rihanna
  88. Uninvited, Alanis Morisette
  89. Until The Night, Billy Joel
  90. A View to a Kill, Duran Duran
  91. Voices Carry, 'Til Tuesday
  92. When Doves Cry, Prince
  93. While the Night Is Still Young, Billy Joel
  94. Who Wants to Live Forever, Queen (Seal also does a great cover of this)
  95. Wicked Game, Chris Isaac
  96. Winner Takes It All, ABBA
  97. The World is Not Enough, Garbage
  98. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald, Gordon Lightfood
  99. You Belong to the City, Glenn Fry