This is just one installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September.
A couple of maxims about summer pop culture over the past four decades: The reading is light, the movies are loud, the TV is (until recently) dull.
Summer music? Not as easy to pinpoint.
Which is what we discovered when making our 37 Ultimate Summer Jams, a playlist of the best 37 songs from the last 37 summers.
The rules: One song per year. The single had to hit number one on Billboard between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Nothing involving a soundtrack with Bryan Adams (we get a little personal leeway here).
When you strictly follow those rules, interesting things happen. You won’t find the Michael Jackson or Eminem songs you think you’ll find. Tracks with “summer” in the title are suspiciously absent. And 1986 was kind of a bummer (somehow, Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald owned June … but not our playlist).
Enjoy. Or argue about it.
But to quote our 1994 pick, “this is how we do it.”