The Songs of Summer #32: ‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer’ by Nat King Cole
Who’s ready for some cheese? It’s the Fourth of July, and summer is now officially in full swing! This country’s got some troubles, it sure does, but it’s still a place worth celebrating. Wherever you are, I hope you’re able to enjoy the 4th in whatever way pleases you the most. Me? I prefer my 4th of July to be lazy, hazy and crazy…with plenty of soda, and pretzels, and beer. Just like old Nat King Cole.
This may be, no this is, the most cheeseball song on my Songs of Summer list. But you know what? I wouldn’t include a song on the list if I didn’t love it. And I say, without any irony whatsoever, that I love this song. The main reason I love it? It reminds me of my Mom.
She absolutely loved this song. There was a time, back in the 80’s, when one of the local radio stations switched formats to a MOR, easy-listening, Your Hit Parade type of format. Lots of these kinds of songs from the 50’s and 60’s….songs that were popular but that were definitely not rock and roll. Lots of songs by people like Perry Como, the Ames Brothers, The Andrews Sisters (more on them later this summer), Johnnie Ray, and Nat King Cole. And my mother played this station constantly. She would sing along to these moldy oldies, and dance around the kitchen as she cooked and cleaned. Stuff that kind of drove me crazy as a young teenager, but stuff that I now look back on with only the fondest memories. My Mom loved music, and I owe my own love of music to her. Even songs as corny as ‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer‘. And brothers and sisters, this song is corny.
‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer‘ is a track from an album of the same name released by Nat King Cole in 1963. It was a huge hit in the waning days before The Beatles and the British Invasion reinvigorated rock music. Popular music in the 1960’s was a very interesting place. Looking at the pop charts from that decade is eye-opening…You’ve got rock music rubbing shoulders with older, established ‘non-rock’ artists like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. The old establishment versus the newcomers…the kids vs. the adults. It was a very interesting time in popular music. Could you possibly imagine a song like ‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer‘ being a Top 40 hit song today, alongside Taylor Swift and Kanye and Eminem? It’d never happen.
This song covers all the typical summer themes, like girls on the beach in their bikinis (they never get ’em wet!), drive-in movies, picnics with sandwiches (and wieners!), all wrapped up in an old-timey sounding tune complete with banjos. As far as I know, this will hopefully be the only one of my Songs of Summer to feature the banjo (fingers crossed). I’ve recently listened to the entire album this track is from, and the whole thing is as corny as this. It’s sorta/kinda embarrassing that an artist with such a rich jazz background as Nat King Cole was reduced to recording this kind of cheesy pop music by the end of his career (he would be dead by 1965), but it has a certain charm and a hark back to a more innocent time that can’t be denied.
Whether you can tolerate this or not is up to your own personal taste, but I love it, because when my Mom sang and danced to it when it came on the radio….and that’s good enough for me. Have a fun, safe Independence Day!!! And don’t forget the reason we celebrate this day, that day 239 years ago, when our forefathers officially declared that they’d had enough crap from the King with a long list of grievances, and that they were ready to go it alone with a brand-new form of government, one that they were willing to fight for.