At the end of July, EL PAÍS published a list of the 10 best summer songs of all time in Spain. Prepared from the votes of 27 cultural journalists, it crowned Escuela de calor, from Radio Futura, as the summer song par excellence. The article also included a survey for readers. He first asked which of those mentioned was his favourite: of 12,825 people who responded, 56% supported the journalists’ selection.
This query was followed by another open question: “Do you think there is a summer song missing from our selection? Tell us about it!” A thousand readers were encouraged to expand the list —although 68 of them pointed out that they would not add others. These are the most voted topics.
1. Where is Georgie Dann?
Who Forewarned is forearmed. Already in the list of musical experts of EL PAÍS the absence of the mythical Georgie Dann was warned. “We only have to regret one absence, that of one of the kings of invention, Georgie Dann, who has been harmed by his extensive production, since his votes have been scattered among El bimbó, El chiringuito or La barbacoa. May this comment serve to honor his work in this field, ”Carlos Marcos wrote in the aforementioned piece.
However, this explanation did not satisfy the readers, in whose suggestions the name of the king of this genre is recurrent. “Song of the summer without one by Georgie Dann?” One user was outraged. What they do not agree on is which of all should be highlighted. El africano, A todo ritmo, El chiringuito, El negro no puede… The musician’s list of hits is extensive, proof of Dann’s ability to craft songs with hooks that have stood the test of time.
2. ‘There is no beach here’, The Refrescos (1989)
In addition to oxygenating the genre of summer songs with its casual ska rhythm, Aquí no hay playa, by The Refrescos, followed the path opened by Escuela de calor and became a summer anthem for those who spent the summer season trapped in a inner city. It came out five years after the success of Radio Futura, but the singer of the group and author of the song, the Galician Bernardo J. Vázquez, chose not to idealize the summer in the Spanish capital and pester the people of Madrid for the distance from the city with the coast.
“You can have Retiro, Casa Campo and Ateneo (…) You can win the League, you can win the Cup. // You will affirm for sure that it is the capital of Spain. // But come August, whoa, whoa! // There is no beach here”, sings Vázquez in the video clip dressed in a beret and enormous white-rimmed glasses while he jumps in front of Cibeles, in the middle of Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía.
3. ‘Aserejé’, Las Ketchup (2002)
“It’s the most ‘meta’ hit of the summer songs and, furthermore, irresistible”, a reader affirms about Aserejé from Las Ketchup. Perhaps it refers to the story that the lyrics tell, that he follows in the footsteps of Diego, a “Rastafarian-Afrogitano” who has just arrived at a party and enjoys his favorite song, the “most desired”, which puts him on DJ. Or perhaps because the most listened to song in 2002 in Spain has resurfaced 20 years later to succeed on TikTok, where hundreds of users recreate the iconic choreography of the chorus. The recent popularity of the star song by the daughters of El Tomate is also due to the fact that the Puerto Rican trapper Young Miko released a new single this July, Wiggy, which has a sample of Aserejé in its chorus and which has refreshed the catchy rhythm of the original theme.
4. ‘Mediterranean’, The Rebels (1988)
The Los Rebeldes trio released Mediterráneo in 1988, a rockabilly theme reminiscent of the sounds of the beginning of the rock era in the United States. This light-hearted song that talks about going on vacation to the Mediterranean coast (“The time has come to change asphalt for sea”) reached number 9 on the best sellers in Spain in August of that year. In addition, in 2008 the group led by Canco Rodríguez recorded a version of the song with the band El Canto del Loco.
5. ‘Slowly’, Luis Fonsi (2017)
The video clip for Despacito, a song by Luis Fonsi with Daddy Yankee, is still today the video with the second highest number of views on YouTube (only surpassed by the repetitive children’s song Baby Shark), with 8.220 million views. The 2017 hit reached every corner of the world, topping the charts in 47 countries and reaching the top 10 in six others. In the United States, it became the second song in Spanish to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Macarena, by Los del Río, in 1996 (see song no. 8 on this list). It also marked the beginning of the rise of reggaeton and especially of music in Spanish in the world top, an undeniable trend in 2023.
6. ‘The Bomb’, King Africa (2000)
With his iconic look of a hat, sunglasses and tunic, Alan Duffy, also known as King Africa, conquered the brass bands of the 2000s shouting: “Booooooombaaaaaaa!” Curious fact: La bomba is actually a version of the song of the same name by the group Azul Azul, from 1998, which the powerful voice of King Africa spread throughout the world. Duffy, an Argentine resident in Valladolid, was interviewed by EL PAÍS in 2021, and even then he admitted that he owed part of his glory to that subject, which he proudly wore. “I just make music to have fun and have fun,” he said then.
7. ‘La flaca’, Jarabe de Palo (1996)
The vocalist of the band Jarabe de Palo, Pau Donés (Barcelona, 1966-2020), wrote La flaca during a trip to Cuba, in which the group fell in love with Alsoris Guzmán, the model that would inspire the song that came out in 1996 , but which became popular a year later, partly thanks to a television advertising campaign for a cigarette brand that used part of the original video clip.
8. ‘Macarena’, Those of the River (1993)
“The Macarena is missing, whether we like it or not.” “It’s not that it’s much to my taste… but I think Macarena should be in this selection.” These are comments from readers who missed the smash hit of the Sevillian duo Los del Río on the summer song list. It was the first song in Spanish to enter the Billboard Hot 100, the ranking of the best-selling singles in the United States, and it reached the top in 1996, three years after its release, for 14 weeks. The song is inseparable from its choreography, which was even recreated during the United States Democratic Party National Convention and by the women’s gymnastics team of the North American country at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Like La flaca, by Jarabe de Palo, it was also created in Latin America, in this case in Venezuela. During a party at the house of businessman Gustavo Cisneros, Diana Patricia Cubillán Herrera, a local flamenco dancer, started dancing. “The young woman began to dance and told me: ‘Give your body joy, Magdalena, that your body is to give you joy and a good thing,’ Antonio Romero explained to EL PAÍS in a 2021 interview.
9. ‘Lambada’, The Kjarkas, Kaoma and… Jennifer Lopez
Although Lambada, the song by the French-Brazilian band Kaoma, is in Portuguese, many readers consider that it should be included on this list, since part of the melody of the song Llorando se fue, by the Bolivian Andean group Los Kjarkas —the latter in Spanish-. In fact, the Bolivarian band took the case to court to prove the authorship of the song and received compensation for plagiarism. Chorando se foi is also known as Lambada, after giving its name to the musical genre of the same name popularized by the singer Loalwa Braz, who died charred in 2017, victim of a murder. However, chances are that Lambada’s melody now sounds canned in some of the more recent tracks that musicians like Don Omar, with Taboo, and Jennifer Lopez, with On the Floor, have popularized.
10. ‘Quédate’ or ‘BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 52′, Quevedo and Bizarrap (2022)
“That song, after the confinement, the half summers, the half throttle summer parties and festivals, was the revulsion that the whole world needed, becoming a world hit.” This is how a reader regrets that the success that catapulted Quevedo to fame was not included in the list. Los Xavales, a duo of analysts from the urban scene, agreed with him, who explained to EL PAÍS last year that the popularity of the song arose in part because it came at the right time, “after two years of pandemic, and with the people wanting to have fun. The song, which topped the world chart on Spotify for five weeks, is one of the sessions by the Argentine producer Bizarrap (Gonzalo Julián Conde). These are collaborations with artists from the urban scene —the Argentine composes the music and the guest the lyrics and interpretation— whose commercial triumph is more than proven. The last sessions with Shakira and Rauw Alejandro are an example that this formula works.
11. ‘Dancing’, Alaska and the Pegamoids (1982)
The discotheque Bailando, from Alaska y los Pegamoides, remained at number 1 in Spain for several consecutive weeks in the summer of 1982, not without controversy after its release. Its authors, Carlos Berlanga and Nacho Canut, were inspired by the Gibson Brothers song Cuba, but with the intention of using its funk rhythm in an ironic way, as it contrasted with the gothic and punk aspect of the band from the Madrid scene. Precisely, Berlanga left the group that he himself had formed due to artistic disagreements with his colleagues, who leaned towards a style of music closer to hard rock. However, the success of the ’82 hit condemned the band to play their most commercial song until their dissolution, which came a few months after the summer.
12. ‘Summer Love’, Dynamic Duo (1963)
The song is called Summer Love, although everyone knows it as The End of Summer, which is its opening verse. It is the oldest hit among readers’ favorites and the only romantic ballad. It was published in 1963, although in Spain it is associated with the Verano azul series, which aired in the eighties, and which closed its first and only season with the song by the Dúo Dinámico, “the first Spanish indies”, as they called themselves. in an interview with EL PAÍS in 2016, the year in which they played at the Sonorama festival at almost 80 years of age.
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