Summertime is filled with BBQs, cookouts, friends, road trips, music and lots of fun. Its a time to make cherished memories and live in the moment. Summer is also time for blockbuster movies, superheroes and big name studio projects. Usually these big budget films have more composer-focused, orchestral pieces with sweeping themes songs and swelling moments. But big-time, cultural mainstays have come out during the summer with soundtracks worth the price of admission. The tunes in these movies bring back memories, create new ones and become the “soundtrack” to your summer festivities. So lets get this party started with ten of our favorite Summer Movie Soundtracks.
10. “Mo’ Better Blues” (1990)
dir. Spike Lee
Let’s ease into this list with some chill vibes, a few good friends and some glasses of wine. If you’re looking for music that’s “got that swing” with some real mellow, smooth jazz tunes, “Mo’ Better Blues” has got you covered.
9. “The Lion King” (1994)
dir. Rogers Allers, Rob Minkoff
It wouldn’t be a summertime mix if we didn’t have something for the kids (and the kids at heart). If your childhood was filled with the songs of Disney animated movies, you’re bound to know every song on this soundtrack. From “The Circle of Life” to “Hakuna Matata,” put this one on if you’re looking for some fun vibes that will most definitely turn into an epic karaoke night, transporting you back to your 10-year-old self.
8. “Easy Rider” (1969)
dir. Dennis Hopper
If you’re looking for more bare-feet-in-the-grass type vibes, “Easy Rider” is the pick for you. Or maybe you’ve got the top down on your convertible with the wind in your hair on a road trip. This one’s good for that too! From “Born To Be Wild” to “The Weight” or Jimi Hendrix’s guitar riffs on “If Six Was Nine,” this soundtrack is peak summertime cool.
7. “Dirty Dancing” (1987)
dir. Emile Ardolino
This was one epic soundtrack whose songs have stood the test of time. Each song instantly evokes scenes from the movie. Even if you’ve never seen it, you know these songs and their correlating images. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” “Hungry Eyes,” “She’s Like the Wind.” The list goes on and on, with some 60s classics thrown in for good measure. “Dirty Dancing” will take you back to those ’80s summers.
6. “Grease” (1978)
dir. Randal Kleiser
“Grease” has got everything for your “Summer Nights” hangouts. It’s got chill vibes, splish splash water-fun vibes and even some tunes to slow down and cap the night (“Hopelessly Devoted To You”). This is another soundtrack that will amp up the crowd participation points. Nothing says summertime like high school summer romance.
5. “Purple Rain” (1984)
dir. Albert Magnoli
One of the best movie soundtracks of all time, “Purple Rain” is so 80s. It an epic classic that can set the mood for your summer nights. From Prince’s “Let Go Crazy” to the slow ballads and dance tunes, this soundtrack will help you let your hair down and get your through those long days.
4. “The Great Gatsby” (2013)
dir. Baz Luhrmann
If your summer shindig is going for a more swanky, fancy vibe, Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is just the right mix. From Jay Z to Beyoncé to modern big band and even some mellow Lana Del Ray, this soundtrack will add just the right fusion with a little sophistication and some sexy vibes to your swinging party.
3. “American Graffiti” (1973)
dir. George Lucas
This is the ultimate summer movie. A couple of high school grads hanging out, cruising before they head off to college. And its soundtrack is a trip down memory lane. With so many songs, “American Graffiti” transports listeners back to doo wop and the early days of rock ‘n’ roll with some of the biggest songs of the era. These tracks are great for all ages and will make a fun time for all.
2. “Super Fly” (1972)
dir. Gordon Parks Jr.
If you’re looking for the ultimate “cool,” chill summer soundtrack, look no further than “Super Fly.” Imagine hot summer nights in the city, sweat forming on your cold summer glass, Curtis Mayfield grooving out in the background. It doesn’t get much better than this.
1. “Top Gun” (1986)
dir. Tony Scott
When you think iconic ’80s summer blockbusters, “Top Gun” is at the top of the list. And it has a blockbuster soundtrack to match. Break out the aviator sunglasses as we fly into the “Danger Zone.” From Kenny Loggins to Berlin, this one’s sure to start your summer off right.