Various - Summer In The Sixties
You might think you’ve heard it all before with Summer In The Sixties. It's the latest compilation that aims to mercilessly sell us the concept that, if governed by the pop world, the only summers worth having were in the sixties. You’d be forgiven for expecting Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday or The Mama’s And The Papa’s California Dreaming, even if ironically the latter has little to do with summer if you pay attention to the lyrics. However, Summer In The Sixties does at least attempt to stretch our pre-conceived expectations of the tracklisting for these compilations, and offers us some fresh sixties treats for a change.
Granted, traditional (albeit strong) numbers such as The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer In The City and Scott McKenzie’s dreary San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair crop up early in, but you’ll soon find yourself doing a double take over the inclusion of the likes of Lennon’s (Ok Plastic Ono Band’s) Give Peace A Chance, Dylan’s Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 and even Bowie’s Space Oddity. The latter not only has little, if anything, to do with the summer, but also only just qualifies as being a sixties song. It rose to greater chart prominence in the seventies. However, we forgive the tenuous link when it’s as strong as Space Oddity.
If this compilation was simply entitled Sixties Songs To Make You Happy it would have been a different matter. Yet, once you note the inclusion of Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody To Love, Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play or particularly The Byrds’ mind-blowing Eight Miles High, you soon appreciate that there is a dark undercurrent to the sunny aesthetic proposed by Summer In The Sixties. Far from making the compilation sound a turn-off, it might add some rejuvenated charm towards a section of the market that we seem to have bought and re-bought already.