The 77 best summer songs to listen to with the windows down

Fire up those grills and pack the beach blankets because it’s summertime and like the popular song says, “The livin’ is easy.”

We just checked the forecast and it looks like nothing but good vibes for the foreseeable future, and that means there’s no time like the present to take advantage of the all-too-short months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Whatever plans you’ve got on the calendar to enjoy the sunshine, they’re sure to be next-level when you add these choice summer songs to the mix.

To help curate the soundtrack for the Summer of ‘24, we’ve collected a list of feel-good tunes to add to your playlist this year that includes just the right blend of classic summer songs like “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone and the beloved Mungo Jerry hit, “In the Summertime.”

You’ll also find plenty of contemporary singles from the likes of Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, who naturally makes the cut with her 2019 hit “Cruel Summer.”

Also included in this bonanza of happy summer songs are country hits, pop tunes and good ol’ fashioned classics from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and today.

So, kick back, fill up your cup with lemonade and get ready to let good times roll. 

“Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa 

The title track off of “Barbie,” last summer’s runaway blockbuster movie, Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” is the essential song to kick off your summer songs playlist and promises to instantly get everyone feeling those happy summer vibes.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” by Beyoncé

Without a doubt, “Cowboy Carter” is going to be the defining album of the Summer of ‘24. Grab your cowboy hat and get ready to line dance to Queen Bey’s “Texas Hold ‘Em.” 

“yes, and?” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and Mariah Carey team up on this head-bobbing single that practically begs to be played at full volume in the car. Windows all the way down, naturally. 

“Shivers” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran wants to be that guy who kisses your eyes and drinks your smile and he talks all about it in his 2021 hit “Shivers,” a high-energy song that’ll have everyone singing along. 

“Golden” by Harry Styles

If ever a song evoked feelings of basking in the glow of warm sunshine, it’s Harry Styles song “Golden.” A cut off Styles’ 2019 album, “Fine Line,” this song is doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, good. 

“Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue

The Kylie Minogue hit, “Padam Padam” is earworm if there ever was one. What does it mean? During a 2023 appearance on TODAY, Minogue confirmed that it represents the sound of a beating heart and its infectious rhythm will have you tapping your toes along to the beat. Padam, padam. 

“Holiday” by Madonna

What’s summer if not one big long holiday? Madonna’s 1983 hit single”Holiday” is the eternal ode to taking a well-deserved break tand bringing back all of those happy days. 

“Houdini” by Dua Lipa

Another Dua Lipa hit makes the summer songs cut (with more to come). With its ‘80s-inspired synth line and high-energy beat, this single is, dare we say, pure magic. 

“Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts

This timeless classic by Seals & Crofts evokes thoughts of warm summer days spent lazing by the pool or catching some rays at the beach. “Summer Breeze” makes us feel fine.

“Big Energy” by Latto, Mariah Carey, DJ Khaled

Here’s what happens when Latto brings her energy to Mimi’s 1995 hit, “Fantasy.” If you can only picture Pedro Pascal dancing to this tune, you’ve officially watched way too much TikTok.

“Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly & The Family Stone

This 1969 tune by Sly & The Family Stone makes us want to sip iced tea while lazing around on a hot July day. Nothing better than hot fun in the summertime. 

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg

The West Coast represents in this summertime classic that makes us want to drink gin and juice while beaching it in our Daisy Dukes (bikinis on top). 

“Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

We feel alive, we feel the love, we feel the love that’s really real in this ’80s classic by Katrina and the Waves. This is the ultimate summer song and, admit it, don’t it feel good?

“In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry

Sing along with Mungo Jerry as he dee-dee-dee’s and dah-dah-dah’s his way through this 1970 hit.

“As it Was” by Harry Styles

Harry Styles dominated the summer of ‘22 with his album “Harry’s House,” which, unsurprisingly, scored the musician a Grammy for Album of the Year. The first single, “As it Was,” is everything you could ever want from a summer song and then some.

“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line

Baby, this song makes us want to roll the windows down and cruise, Chevy lift kit and all. Florida Georgia Line’s 2013 country crossover hit completely captures the essence of driving down the highway on a warm summer’s night.

“Summer Feelings” by Lennon Stella, featuring Charlie Puth

The name sums it perfectly. This summer song covers all the bases including talk of sand, ocean waves, California dreamin’ and watching the sunset from the rooftop. 

“Soak Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow

All Sheryl Crow wants to do is soak up some sun and tell the rest of the world to lighten up. And, boy, can we relate. There’s no better way to spend a summer day than by drinking in all that sunshine.

“Get the Party Started” by Pink

You can’t deny that summer is just one endless party. Pink’s “Get the Party Started” is guaranteed to jumpstart whatever fun plans you’ve got on the calendar to make the most of every minute. 

“About Damn Time” by Lizzo

Turn up the music, turn down the lights. We’ve got a feeling, it’s all going to be alright … just as long as this Lizzo song is playing on full blast. 

“Levitating” by Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby

Glitter in the sky, glitter in our eyes, Due Lip and DaBaby take us for a ride. 

“Love Shack” by The B-52’s

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says 15 miles to the Love Shack, do not hesitate, do not pass go, just take the exit and join the line of revelers waiting to get dowwwwn. 

“Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers

“Sucker” is an earworm of epic proportions and will have you singing along as they dance on top of cars, stumble out of bars and go just about anywhere blindly. 

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s been inspiring us since winning the the first season of “American Idol” back in 2002. This toe-tapping anthem from her “Breakaway” album will have you belting out the chorus wherever you are. 

“no tears left to cry” by Ariana Grande

This Ariana Grande song went all the way to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 2018 and remained on the charts throughout the summer, establishing the single as a bona fide summer hit,

“Hot in Herre” by Nelly

Extra, extra, Nelly is here with a solution to, uh, cool down in the heat of summer. With its suggestive lyrics, “Hot in Herre” raised some eyebrows back in the day. Even so, the song spent seven weeks at No. 1 during the summer of 2002. 

“Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

Players gonna play, play, play, play, play. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate … well, you get the drift. Not a Swiftie? Just shake it off and move on to the next song.

“Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z

Before they were officially Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the producer and singer teamed up for this 2003 collab that practically sizzles it’s so hot. The first single off Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” album, “Crazy in Love” ruled the charts and firmly established Queen Bey as the ruler of the music universe. 

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

This hit single from the Minions movie “Despicable Me” is so infectious you won’t be able to help yourself from singing along. Period. The end.

“Toxic” by Britney Spears

One listen to Britney’s “Toxic” will take you on a one-way ride to a poison paradise. Released more than 20 years ago, this head-trippy, high-octane tune is still a summer favorite. 

“Sugar” by Maroon 5

Why do we love “Sugar”? Because it’s so sweet, naturally. Forgive our funny pun, we just couldn’t help ourselves. Along with so many of the band’s other big hits, “Sugar” is infectious and toe-tapping fun.

“Summertime Blues” by Alan Jackson

Originally recorded by Eddie Cochran back in 1958, Alan Jackson’s updated country cover is about as much fun as it gets. If you’ve got a bad case of the summertime blues, we’ve got the cure: a trip to the beach. 

“Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

Released back in 2015, “Can’t Feel My Face” officially established The Weeknd as a superstar and this bass-driven tune is exactly the kind of head-nodding summer song your playlist calls for.

“Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez

Who can forget J. Lo’s sizzling halftime performance at the 2020 Super Bowl with fellow pop star Shakira? The pair memorably teamed up on a number of hits, including “Let’s Get Loud,” a Salsa-driven song that absolutely deserves a spot on your summer songs setlist.

“Scream & Shout” by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

This 2013 tune recently broke one billion (that’s with a capital “B”) views on YouTube. Why? Because it makes us want to scream, shout and let it all out.

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

Calling all party rockers in the house tonight! A favorite at weddings, clubs and just about anywhere else, “Party Rock Anthem” is a surefire way to get the party started.

“Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee

This 2017 hit by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi is unstoppable and will make you and the crew want to dance all night long. 

“Hey Ya!” by Outkast

The only thing better than this song is the brilliant video featuring André 3000 decked out in green and performing as every single member in the band. 

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake

A cut off the “Trolls” soundtrack, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” will have you singing and dancing in no time flat. Summer, winter, fall or spring, this one’s guaranteed to get everyone to dance, dance, dance.

“Cake By the Ocean” by DNCE

We’re pretty sure this one’s not about indulging in dessert — or maybe it is. Either way, we’re blushing, but also more than happy to join Joe Jonas and the rest of DNCE in this infectious song that ruled the charts back in 2016.

“We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

Have trouble remembering lyrics a decade after this song’s release? If you can just remember, “We found love in a hopeless place,” you’ve pretty much got the entire song covered.

“Summer Nights” by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

He got friendly, holding her hand and, well, she got friendly down in the sand. The rest, as they say, is history. A-wella, wella, wella. Tell us more!

“Better Days” by Neiked, Mae Muller, Polo G

This peppy, uptempo tune gives us all the summer vibes. Released in 2021, it begs to be listened to on the beach, at the pool or wherever you’re whiling away the hours. Can we get an amen? 

“I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

In the summer of 2009, the Black Eyed Peas dominated the music charts with their album “The E.N.D.” and went all the way to No. 1 with “I Gotta Feeling,” knocking out their other song “Boom Boom Pow” in the process. 

“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock

The ultimate mashup of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” perfectly captures the euphoria that comes from fishing off the dock, campfires and sipping whiskey out the bottle.

“Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift

Does a playlist even exist if Taylor Swift isn’t on it? The answer is a resounding no. Who can’t relate to the Eras singer’s lament about having a summer romance with a bad, bad boy who leaves you drunk in the back of the car? Exactly.

“Summer” by Calvin Harris

What do you get when you cross the smooth stylings of DJ Calvin Harris (who happens to sing on this one) with hot, sunny days? Yep, you guessed it: This summer song appropriately titled “Summer.”

“Hot, Hot, Hot” by Buster Poindexter

Just press “play” on this 1987 Buster Poindexter song and, we promise, you’ll be forming a conga line in no time. Yessss sir!

“Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles

Here’s the thing: This Harry Styles song isn’t about watermelon or sugar. Still, it’s guaranteed to put you in a summer state of mind the second you hear Harry croon, “Tastes like strawberries, on a summer evenin’.”

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus make us want to pull out our cowboy boots, saddle up and head to the saloon. This chart-topper made a superstar out of Lil Nas X who took home the Grammy for Best Music Video in 2020.

“Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran

Bad habits, everyone’s got ’em. Whether you bite your nails or don’t exercise enough, it probably doesn’t compare to Ed Sheeran, whose bad habits are leading him spend late nights endin’ alone and making conversation with strangers he hardly knows. 

“Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd

One of the most-streamed artist in the world, The Weeknd sure knows how to spin ’em. This time around, he sings about regretting past relationships while an 80s-inspired beat plays in the background.

“Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra

This 1977 song by Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO) extols the very best virtues of summer, a bright sunny day and that good feeling you get when you step outside to embrace the day. 

“Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” makes us feel like hopping in the car, driving to California and being young forever. The album (by the same name) made history after Perry became the first woman to score five No. 1 singles off the same record. 

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Hey, we just met and it’s probably crazy, but here’s this great summer song called “Call Me Maybe.” Before Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen came into our lives with this classic 2011 song, we missed her so bad, so, so bad.

“Good Feeling” by Flo Rida

Using a sample from Etta James’ 1962 single “Something’s Got a Hold of Me,” this Flo Rida song will make you feel good all summer long. 

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

Caught in a bad romance? Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh. Rah, rah-ah-ah-ah, you’re in good company.  

“If I Can’t Have You” by Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes dropped this single in May of 2019 and by July, it was literally pouring out of every open car window. Reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 100, “If I Can’t Have You” is Mendes’ second highest charting song behind “Senorita,” his duet with Camila Cabello, which went to No. 1 that same summer.

“Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega

One, two, three, four, five, everybody in the car, so come on, let’s ride just about anywhere as long as “Mambo No. 5” is playin’ in the car. Covered by German singer Lou Bega, it’s a party song for the ages and we dare you to sit still while it’s playing. 

“24K Magic” by Bruno Mars

Players, whatcha all tryin’ to do? Get those pinky rings up to the moon, then dance along with Bruno Mars and embrace the 24K magic that’s in the air this summer.

“Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry

The ultimate anthem for anyone who’s ever partied a little too hard, Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” is an ode to making the kind of memories you’ll forget about — at least until you see the damage on social media the next day. And then? You’ll do it all again. 

“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung

We may never know what “Wang-Chung tonight” means, but either way, this feel-good ‘80s song embodies good times and having a blast with your pals. 

“Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful

Released back in 1966, this rock tune by The Lovin’ Spoonful speaks of sweatin’ it out amid the heat of the big city and the sweet relief that comes after the sun goes down.

“Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake

Don’t be so quick to walk away because Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” continues to be a fan favorite more than 20 years after it was released.

“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

Daft Punk may wear helmets to conceal their faces from the public, but it doesn’t stop fans from loving their music. “Get Lucky” ruled the radio during the spring and summer of 2013 and remains a warm-weather favorite.

“On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull

J. Lo (maybe you’ve heard of her?) released this Latin-infused song with Pitbull back in 2011. Add it to your soundtrack for a day of sand, sun and fun.

“Juice” by Lizzo

Blame it on the Goose, blame it on the juice, blame it on whatever you like, but there’s no denying that this Lizzo song will get your heart pumping during summer (and the rest of the year, too).

“All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé

 “All the Single Ladies.” Any questions? 

“Boy With Luv” by BTS featuring Halsey

Oh my, my, my, this BTS and Halsey collaboration is summer gold. Released in April of 2019, the song was on endless rotation throughout the season and for good reason. It’s infectious, upbeat and the perfect soundtrack for any (and all) of your summer activities. 

“Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters

This old-school tune has been covered by countless artists including the Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp and even Bruce Willis. It’s a lazy summer day all bottled up into one perfect song. 

“Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2012 with this ab-fab song that is just way too much fun. 

“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band

“Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 2008 and remains a classic. The lyrics pay homage to all the virtues of the South including sweet tea, pecan pie, homemade wine and, of course, fried chicken. 

“Island In the Sun” by Weezer

Hip-hip! Weezer totally nails the chill summer vibe that comes from hanging out and soaking in the rays. 

“Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” sums up life under the California sunshine. But if you’ve seen Jordan Peele’s “Us,” this happy tune may take you in a totally different direction.

“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction

Before Harry Styles was, well, Harry Styles, he was in a little-known boy band called “One Direction.” Sound familiar? Released in 2011, “What Makes You Beautiful” was the debut hit that started it all.

“Sunroof” by Nicky Youre, dazy

If ever there was a summer song, “Sunroof” by Nicky Youre and dazy is it. With lyrics like “I got my head out the sunroof, I’m blasting our favorite tunes,” you’ll be singing along on your way to the beach, barbecue or wherever your summer plans take you. 

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars

The eternal party song for any and all occasions, “Uptown Funk” is a must to blast from the car windows as you and your crew prepare for a summer day or night chock full of fun.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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