The Daily Meal's Summer Party Playlists

Our favorite songs for the best gatherings of the season

When you’re planning a get together with friends, there are three ingredients listed in our recipe for success: good friends, good food, and good tunes. In the spirit of summer and entertaining outdoors, we’ve created two playlists — one for each mood — featuring some of our seasonal favorites that are sure to get everybody moving. If you’re barbecuing on the rood with your best buddies, some upbeat favorites like Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer, the Fresh Prince’s Summertime, and anything by the Beach Boys will ensure everyone has a good time. Looking for something more low-key for an al fresco dinner party? Songs like R.E.M.’s Nightswimming and The Doors’ Light My Fire playing in the background will complete the scene without disrupting conversation.

What songs are on your summer party playlist?


Summer Classics for a Dinner Party

Theme from “A Summer Place” — Percy Faith & his Orchestra 

Nightswimming — R.E.M.

Let’s Get Lost — Chet Baker 

Coconut — Harry Nilsson

Summertime Thing — Chuck Prophet 

Light My Fire — The Doors 

Sous le Soleil Exactement — Serge Gainsbourg 

Summer Girl — Leighton Meester

Summertime — Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald 

Stir It Up — Bob Marley 

Green Tree — Stéphane Pompougnac (and most other Hôtel Costes tunes)


Backyard Party Favorites to Get Things Going

The Boys of Summer — Don Henley 

Sunshine — Atmosphere

The Tide is High — Blondie 

Barracuda — Heart 

Girl — Beck

Cruel Summer — Bananarama 

Surfin’ USA — Beach Boys (or any other Beach Boy favorite, for that matter…)

Summer of ’69 — Bryan Adams 

Hot Stuff — Donna Summer 

Buffalo Soldier — Bob Marley  

Temperature — Sean Paul 

And for all the Fresh Prince of Bel Air fans out there, Summertime with DJ Jazzy Jeff is a must.