This past holiday season, I was a little bummed out that it was the first year in a very long time that I wasn’t able to turn on my television and see David Letterman ask Jay Thomas to tell his famous “Lone Ranger” story and then introduce Darlene Love to sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” but I took solace that at least one of my usual traditions remained the same: I was able to visit NewsFromMe.com and read Mark Evanier’s annual posting of his Mel Torme story. If you’ve never read it before, I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll just say that the story – specifically, the bit about the circumstances under which Mel composed “The Christmas Song” – came to mind again today when I made the decision to write about one of the greatest summer songs of the ’80s on the coldest day we’ve seen in my neck of the woods this winter.
- They opened for Rush when I saw them on the Grace Under Pressure tour at Hampton Coliseum.
- Their song “Summertime Girls” is awesome.
I have to admit, though, that prior to writing this piece, even if you had put a gun to my head, I would’ve been unable to produce the title of another Y&T song. I was a little embarrassed about that, so I’ve since gone through their catalog on Spotify and found a few other gems, like “Forever,” “Don’t Stop Running,” “All American Boy,” and “Contagious.” It’s too late, though: there’s no way I’ll ever find anything that’ll top “Summertime Girls” for me.
Guitarist Dave Meniketti discussed the origins of the song in a 2014 interview with GuitarWorld.com:
“We used to go to a rehearsal studio every day and pretty much just hang out for eight or nine hours. For us, rehearsal studio was like a party. [Laughs.] One day, Joey Alves [original Y&T guitarist] and I came in and strapped on our guitars. We didn’t really talk to each other, we just started doodling. I remember I started playing the chords to what would become the ‘Summertime Girls’ chorus. When he asked me, ‘What’s that?’ I told him I didn’t know and was just screwing around. Then he said, ‘Keep playing it.’ That’s when he started playing a riff that became the melody to the chorus. Soon the rest of the guys showed up and within two hours we came up with all the parts, wrote the lyrics and were done.”
Yes, it’s got that cheesy ’80s synth sound that dates it instantly, but the guitar work is great, it’s got a soaring chorus, and the band’s harmonies are just plain swell. If you’re looking for something to help ward off the winter’s chill, “Summertime Girls” will warm you right up.
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