As summer winds down nostalgia ramps up in memories of summers before at the ripe time for newness that comes with the start of another school year (for myself, a teacher). And what song encapsulates nostalgia better than “Summer of ’69.”
The fourth single from Bryan Adams’ 1984 album Reckless, the song has had a long life and now inspires the same nostalgia in its essence that it sought to capture at its birth. Originally called “The Best Days of My Life” the song went through several drafts looking for the magic it eventually captured. “Summer of ‘69” originally appeared in the song only once but over several drafts (it appears 5 times on the final draft) Bryan Adams and songwriting partner Jimmy Vallance shifted the theme to focus more on the year, perhaps seeing that the theme they sought was in the specificity of the idea.
The meaning of the year has shifted depending on when Adams and Vallance discuss it. For Vallance, the summer that “seemed to last forever,” that “if [he]’d had the choice [he]’d always be there” was mainly because of the music with releases from Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Cream, and Hendrix. In interviews, Adams has claimed everything from the song being about the sex position and making love (as any rockstar should) to Cultural Revolution and nostalgia.
11 years later, MXPX kicked off their EP of cover songs On the Cover with a punk rock version that kicked up the tempo and the volume but still tapped into the pathos. I must’ve heard their version when I was just blossoming into harder rock so this song, more so than the original captures my nostalgia. When I hear Adams’ version I just want it to speed up. The emotion is there, with more of an edge mixed perfectly and ripped through in about a minute less than the original. Shorter and sweeter.
Check out both below. Enjoy the video which in itself will bring back 80s nostalgia. It’s a nostalgia party so enjoy the quick stabs and rush of endorphin filled memories.