10 Albums That Once Ruled Our Summers(And Still Most Certainly Do)

To the ten classic albums on this list, thank you for making all of our summer music dreams come true over the years………..

…….and thank you for still doing so today. Especially you, Alanis. 

Ready, set, “Batdance.” 

Prince/Purple Rain (June 25th, 1984) Classic…legendary….epic….music industry/life changing. Yes, those are all of the correct words and phrases anyone can use to describe the dearly departed Prince’s incredible music contribution to the film of the same name, for which the Purple One also starred in–and straight up owned. While the film and its accompanying heavenly sonnets are close to comparison in equal goodness, the songs take the slighter lead because well, you’ve got the life-altering title track, “I Would Die 4 U,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and of course, “When Doves Cry” in which we still get misty eyed whenever it enters our f@cking souls. Bottom line–if this ’80s music masterpiece isn’t in your summer rotation, well, you’re just not doin’ it right. 

Madonna/ True Blue (June 30th, 1986) So much to relive and um, tell here, so we’ll just kick it off with two little words…Sean Penn. Yes, besides being her best-selling set to date, (10 million worldwide), the Material Girl’s love-kissed third offering mostly plays out as an ode to her then husband. But of course, it’s all about the music here, and what a fantastic experience this album truly is. One of Madonna’s best vocal efforts (no, no that wasn’t a question), each True groove showcased a stronger, confident pop star. Of course, we also got a serving of a young diva who wasn’t afraid to musically stir things up a bit, and lead single, “Papa Don’t Preach” certainly did just that and got the icon in trouble deep with Planned Parenthood and the Church thanks to the chart topping single’s lyrical content about, well, you know. Of course, a little controversy goes a long way in Madonna’s world, and the buzz would not only send “Papa” straight to her greatest hits collection, but it kicked off a long line of now classic True Blue music moments including “Open Your Heart,” “Live to Tell,” “Where’s the Party,” “La Isla Bonita” and the album’s oooey-gooey title track. But if we really want to sum up this era of the Queen of Pop, take a closer look at the absolute fierceness that’s still contained in the Herb Ritts shot True Blue album cover….because it’s all still right…here. 

Aerosmith/Permanent Vacation Although this summer-of-’87 effort was the legendary rock band’s ninth studio set, it would go on to become their most successful record in more than a decade, selling over five million copies in the U.S. alone. This was not only thanks in part to three Steven Tyler worthy top 20 singles–“Rag Doll,” “Dude(Looks Like a Lady)” and “Angel”–but to the fact that this was right around the time that MTV actually played music videos, like, all of the time, which ultimately helped music artists like Aerosmith and so many others gain massive chart success back then. Yes, it’s hard to believe that it actually worked like that, but what’s not hard to believe is that we simply love this Aerosmith record…especially in the rockin’ summer months. 

Janet Jackson/janet(May 18th, 1993) “Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire…” you know…the words. Actually, if you don’t know the words to Ms. Jackson’s still epic and bedroom ready lead single to her just-turned-twenty-five year old single-named masterpiece, then you should start to familiarize yourself with it all right now. Here we not only have one of the best recorded (and interluded up) albums of all time, but a record full of life about coming into your own both sexually and artistically as Ms J fiercely displays both throughout this still satisfying music ride. From “Love” to “If’ To “Again” to “This Time” co-starring the incredible Kathleen Battle, to “Throb, ” “You Want This,” and “Anytime, Anyplace,” there isn’t a janet groove on here that still doesn’t hit the spot in all of the right ways possible. But perhaps the grandest part of the whole janet experience is that this record is iconic not just with the LGBTQ community, but as a pivotal turning point for every closeted gay man in 1993. If you fit that description, you know you’re shakin’ your head yaaaas. Go on, Ms. Janet, go on. 

Forrest Gump/Soundtrack (June 28th, 1994) There’s truly no need to argue that the classic Tom Hanks Oscar snatcher is indeed one of the best ’90s flicks of all time, which is mainly in part to its glorious and iconic back-in-the-day setting and storytelling. The film’s six-times-platinum soundtrack remains as groovy and timeless as Mr. Gump himself, as we get an array of legendary tunes from Elvis Presley, Duane Eddy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many, many more. The epic 2 disc soundtrack doesn’t just contain some of the greatest music of all time, but will continue to be heard and experienced by every new generation that experiences Forrest Gump along the way in this box of chocolates we call life….and that’s the best part of it all.  

Alanis Morrisette/Jagged Little Pill (June 13th, 1995) An album that not only defines summer but god damn life itself, Ms. Alanis’ conformed and deliciously feisty third studio outing has no doubt been owning and defining our lives since its release all the way back in the summer of ’95. Much, much more than an angry love letter to Uncle Joey (the album is a frickin’ Broadway show now!), lead single “You Oughta Know” opened up the angst ridden gates to a Billboard chart destroying (twenty-six million!) record that was smart(“You Learn,” “Hand in My Pocket”), truthful (“All I Really Want,” “Right Through You,” “Ironic”) and just a little–or a lot–rockin’ thanks to Alanis new energy alongside Jagged super producer, Glen Ballard. While you could search all day long to find a record that contains a stern, yet beautiful buffet of hooks, a lavish display of lyrics and an oh, so young music star who seemingly understood the world for all of us ’90s kids back then, chances are, you’re certainly not going to find it. Thank you, Alanis for this f@king record and may we feel forever feels those nails scratchin’ down our backs. 

Beyoncé/Dangerously in Love (June 24th, 2003) Picture it…fifteen years ago this summer….it happened….Beyoncé started on her journey to becoming Beyoncé with the serving of her soon-to-be Grammy snatching debut record. Yes, it’s hard to believe that Bey made her big splash away from Kelly and Michelle that long ago as each groove on the record has certainly withstood the sands of summer music time. From the one, two punch of “Crazy in Love” & “Baby Boy” to “Naughty Girl” &”Hip Hop Star” from “Me, Myself & I” and the album’s delicious title track…this is truly where it all began for the Lemonade legend. Of course, this is also where it all began for our obsession with Jay and Bey as the release of the record was around the same time we all started to realize that they just might be more than “Crazy” co-horts…and we’ve been in ‘”Love” with them every single second of it ever since. Uh, oh, uh, oh forever. 

Rihanna/Good Girl Gone Bad (June 2nd, 2008) If you weren’t gettin down to a newly reformed RiRi’s Bad sounds in the summer of ’07 (and ’08 thanks to the Reloaded edition) well, you just weren’t born yet because everyone and their mother from back then is still obsessed with everything on the Barbadian songstress’ career defining third studio set. Aside from killer singles and album cuts, “Don’t Stop the Music,” “Shut Up & Drive,” “Take a Bow,” “Disturbia,” “Breakin’ Dishes,” “Sell Me Candy” and “Push Up on Me,” Girl is also blessed with “Umbrella,” which is undoubtedly one of the greatest summer singles ever recorded. Although Ri was already well into the game at this point, this record truly transformed her into the icon who owns everything she touches today…..and we’ll be forever be grateful for everything that Good Girl has to offer until the god damn end of music time. 

Katy Perry/Teenage Dream (August 24th, 2010) No matter what you may think of Ms. Katy these days (anyone listen to Witness lately or watch American Idol this year…anyone?), there wasn’t a radio station back in 2010 that wasn’t blasting lead Dream single “California Gurls” or the still bubbly title track all summer long. Isn’t that right, the cast of Glee? Not only did Perry’s sun-scorched sonnets set her up for a truly smashing  third studio effort, but the tantalizing tracks would become the whipped cream wearing diva’s first pair of five consecutive Billboard chart topping hits from the record (becoming the only female to do so), and would no doubt launch her to true music icon status. Oh, and the fact that most of the Teenage tunes were dedicated to then husband Russell Brand? Well, that’s just f@#king priceless. Kitty Purry 4 lyfe. 

Prince/Batman Soundtrack (June 20th, 1989)  If you’ll recall (really, how could anyone forget?), there wasn’t a person on the globe who wasn’t struck with Dark Knight fever thanks to Tim Burton’s late ’80s blockbuster. Our beloved Purple One took over the accompanying soundtrack and simply flew with it, where it would go on to become the music legend’s eleventh studio offering. With each track derived with delicious bits and pieces from the classic superhero flick (“Batdance” and “Electric Chair,” anyone?), Prince truly hits the mark with every dark twist and turns along the way and also gives us the reason why we’ll never, ever forget the name, “Vicki Vale.” An equally iconic record paired with an equally iconic film in a summer we’ll never forget.

Now, let it all play. 


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