13 Ultimate Summer Holiday Tunes

Written by Isabel Clift

Summer’s here – so what’s going to be 2012’s holiday soundtrack? The point is, no amount of marketing works – huge summer tunes are decided totally by the people, and that choice is usually about a million miles from what’s meant to be cool!

So… you might not listen to these 13 ultimate summer holiday songs “in real life”… but go on, admit it. These songs remind you of summers gone by and you secretly love them – or at least you love to hate them.


1. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem

Love it or hate it, you couldn’t go into a beach bar or dentist’s office in 2011 without hearing this. It reached number one in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and US.

2. Bob Sinclair, Love Generation

Released at the beginning of Australian summer in October 2005, this was massive down under as well as across Europe. It sound-tracked the FIFA World Cup in 2006, cementing its place as a summer song forever.

3. Las Ketchup, Aserejé (the Ketchup Song)

Released in July 2002, Aserejé was recorded in three versions: Spanish, a mixture of English and Spanish and Portuguese. Hitting number one all over Europe and in Australia, NZ and Canada, the chorus had its own dance routine that became a huge craze that year.

4. DJ Pied Piper – Do you Really Like it

Reaching no.1 in the UK in May 2001, this is what made 2-step garage go mainstream. In a massive case of collective lyrics mishearing, everyone took the “how do you like my style” refrain to be “agia napa, agia napa” – garage-lovin’ Brits’ party island du jour at the time.

5. Mr C, Cha Cha Slide

If you haven’t done this dance routine on holiday with a tequila sunrise in your hand, you’ll have done it at your prom, school disco, zumba class or in your bedroom with the door shut. It has been proved scientifically impossible not to have attempted to do the Cha Cha Slide at least once since the single was released in September 2000.


6. Vengaboys, We’re going to Ibiza

You can’t get cheesier, more embarrassing-to-be-caught-dancing-to pop than this. Released in 1999, the Dutch group reworked Typically Tropical’s 1975 number one Barbados to hop onto the tail-end of nineties Ibiza largin’ it culture.

7. Will Smith, Miami

Miami, released in 1998, was Will Smith’s biggest-selling single, and charted in top 20s all over the world. It samples The Whispers’ 1980 hit And the Beat Goes On.

8. Tarkan, Şımarık (Kiss Kiss)

If you went on summer holidays in Europe in the 90s and early 00s, you’ll know this. Otherwise known as the “kiss kiss,” song, it’s been covered by many different artists (including Holly Valance in the UK, where it went to number one) since Turkish artist Tarkan released it in 1997.

9. Mr. President, Coco Jambo

This 1996 reggae-eurodance hit sounds so summery it’s like it’s dripping ice-cream and Banana Boat tan oil: those steel drums! That sing-a-long “yah, yah, yeah!” chorus! It went top ten all over Europe and, amazingly, the band created a Christmas version for that year too.

10. Scatman John, I’m a Scatman

Ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-bop! Released in November 1994, this got to number one all over Europe. It’s become a summer eurodance classic, the “ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-bop” refrain seeming to have sound-tracked countless TV holiday montages.


11. Kaoma, Lambada

Recognise that accordion sample from Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor”? This is where it was nabbed from, a huge hit in its own right that sold over five million copies in the summer of 1989 – riding off the popularity of that year’s Lambada dance craze. The sun-kissed video was shot on Tago Mago Island in the Mediterranean and on Cocos Beach in Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil.

12. Wham!, Club Tropicana

Wham!’s 1983 hit was actually a jokey swipe at the Club 18-30 package holidays of the early 80s, which had a reputation for being cheap and tacky. In an ironic twist, the song was enthusiastically picked up by precisely the people it mocked, and became a mega-mainstream classic.

13. Madonna, Holiday

Madonna’s first hit single back in November 1983 endures today as one of the first classic summer pop songs. It’s still rolled out time and time again to signify the start of summer, and arguably kickstarted the modern summer song trend altogether…

Agree/don’t agree with the list? Tell us the summer songs we’ve missed in the comments…

Looking for more cool lists? Check out 50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts  or 15 Things You Should Never Say to a Backpacker

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Thanks to denej for the image off Flickr. Please note, all images were suitable for use at time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.

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