What Northwest Public Radio Is Listening To This Summer

May 28, 2014

Credit Jenni Chaffin photograph with Sueann Ramella graphics

Summer is a time of sunshine, blue skies and green lawns; better weather and easy days. Each summer seems to have its own soundtrack, songs you discover or rediscover that capture the very essence of summer. Northwest Public Radio’s hosts are no strangers to these summer tracks and they want to share their favorites with you! So, without further ado, here are some of NWPR’s favorite classic and current summer hits.

Jessie Jacobs, Classical Music Host

Old-time favorite: George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F

“No matter what time of year I hear his music, I always get such a warm, happy feeling in my stomach and that, of course, is what summer music is about! Gershwin’s music is always big on the 4th of July, because it’s so American, but personally it makes me think of visiting my grandpa in Gig Harbor during the summer, where I would always be treated to a performance of some Gershwin (my grandpa was a pianist) … It’s beautiful, like summer tends to be, and it has a lot of fun, which reminds me of all the wonderful summertime things I’ve been fortunate enough to do.”

Recent summer hit: Lose Yourself to Dance by Daft Punk

“I know that Lose Yourself to Dance from Daft Punk’s new Album is going to be on repeat in my house this summer. It’s so catchy and has such a great beat, it always makes me want to drop everything and dance. So…mission accomplished Daft Punk and Pharrell.”

Thom Kokenge, All Things Considered Host

Old-time favorite: China Grove by The Doobie Brothers

“It’s the first one that came to my mind. Nobody knows where it is but everyone wants to go there. That’s a good summer jam right there.”

  Recent summer hit:   Hey Ya! by Outkast

“That’s a great summer song. When that came out my girlfriend at the time, and me went dancing and we just went crazy.”

*Bonus song: The Chattanooga Choo Choo by Benny Goodman

“I don’t know why but that song just makes me happy.”

Gigi Yellen, Classical Music Host

Old-time favorite: Sealed With A Kiss by Brian Hyland

“The music’s magic is in the sudden turns from minor to major and back. Results: a sense of longing, tinged with the melancholy sense that the ‘pledge to meet in September’ might actually go unfulfilled. Listening to this great song turns me into a summer camp kid with no boyfriend, but a great imagination.”

Recent summer hit: Schumann Piano Quintet Op. 44

“In this part of the planet, where summer means chamber music wafting outdoors, there’s at least one festival where this open-hearted, romantic music will sound as fresh as the smell of hay, the light of a late afternoon, and the spirit of a satisfied listener. ‘As if new’ to me! I meant it when I marked the Schumann chamber music as "recent," to emphasize the ever-new feeling of this kind of music. Of course, it's 150 years old, but that's the point of the experience of hearing such a thing played in a summer chamber music festival.”

Bruce Bradberry, Weekend Edition Host

 Old-time favorite:  Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys

“The indisputable summer song for all time is Surfin' USA by the Beach Boys. Bizarrely, although I lived near the beach, whenever I hear it I think of the mountains, where I spent my teenage summers.”

  Recent summer hit:   Nothing

“Nothing in contemporary pop music is worth considering (or listening to). But, as a more recent second choice, how’s about Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime.”

Brett Charvat, Announcer

Old-time favorite: Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes by Edison Lighthouse

“When I was little I use to listen to my mom’s big stack of 45 records. This one was a big hit.”

Recent summer hit: Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden

“I remember watching the video on MTV when I was young and MTV still played music videos.”

Sueann Ramella, Morning Edition Host/Producer

Old-time favorite: The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby 

"My parents often took me to Mt. Rainier as a kid. We would get a bucket of KFC and drive the old blue Ford F-150 up to Paradise and picnic.  Dad told me when I was older that they didn't have money for vacations so we went for long drives instead. When I hear this song I see the trees, the waterfalls and feel the crisp air of Mt. Rainier. Years later, I paid attention to the lyrics and the song now has deeper meaning to me."

Recent summer hit: Dream of Me and You by Future Islands

"When I think of a traditional summertime hit it's something like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's Summertime. But my choice doesn't go that way. I pick Dream of Me and You because it is a song that enters my life at a time when I'm struggling to balance work, family and my own needs. The lyrics and melody ease my mind and let me relax - something every summer season should do!"