The Songs of Summer 53 & 54: ‘Magic’ Two-Fer
Is summer magic? If you pay any attention to pop culture, like I do, the answer is yes. In reality, once you reach adulthood, the answer’s probably more like ‘not really…just another season.’ But the Songs of Summer List isn’t about reality; it’s about the songs that for one reason or another bring me to that head space where I can answer ‘hell yes summer is magic!’ …..even when it’s not.
These two Songs of Summer share a name: ‘Magic.’ Both were fairly big hit songs during summers almost a decade apart.
The first ‘Magic’ is by the Scottish band Pilot. It’s another sweet slice of 70’s pop music that was everywhere in my world during the summer of 1975. Again, long days at the community swimming pool exposed me to lots of Top 40 radio…and my young brain was drenched in the sounds of the hit sounds of the day. This song has been used in lots of films and TV shows, and is currently being ruined as the theme song for a window replacement company. But in my mind, ‘Magic’ by Pilot will always take me back to those sunny carefree days of 1975.
‘Magic’ number two is the 1984 hit by The Cars from their massive hit album ‘Heartbeat City.’ This song will forever remind me of summer days spent around another pool…Our family moved away from the neighborhood with the community pool when I was 10, to a house in the country with its very own pool. For the next 32 years, until my parents sold the house in 2012, this pool was our summertime oasis. In the summer of 1984, this song was everywhere. Plus, the song name checks summer, so it gets a few bonus points there.
Another note about this Cars song…in 1984, we still didn’t have cable TV (that wouldn’t happen until 1992 if you can frickin’ believe it) so we didn’t have MTV. That summer of ’84, we traveled out of state to a family wedding, and the house we stayed at had cable! With not much else to do, and with few kids around to hang with, I spent a couple solid days parked in front of the TV, soaking in as much MTV culture as I could. ‘Magic’ was on heavy rotation then, I can tell you. I probably saw the swimming pool-themed video for this song 15 times each day (along with heavy doses of Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry,’ Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and the rest of the top pop songs (and videos) of that summer. Which is why ‘Magic’ by the Cars is another one of my many Songs of Summer.
In the words of Ric Ocasek, ‘Summer Summer Summer. It’s like a merry-go-round.’ Time warp with me back to the summers of 1975 and 1984, won’t you?