JUKEBOX: Happy Birthday, Summer Babies

Calling all Cancers, Leos, and Virgos — this one’s for you.

If there’s one thing that most everyone born from June to August can agree on, it’s that growing up having a birthday in the dead heat of summer sucked. First of all, your birthday didn’t fall during the school year, so on the very last day of classes, you had to celebrate your special day along with every other kid whose parents made the mistake of procreating during late fall, early winter. Sure, this usually involved Popsicles for the entire class, but for a Leo? It’s hard to share the spotlight with another Leo, particularly when you’re five years old and you haven’t learned a little thing called “decorum” yet. (Virgos got off easy — school was usually in session by the time September rolled around.)

As an adult, summer birthdays are less of a bummer, except for the heat and the fact that now, birthdays matter less and often conflict with work. Ho hum. If only we could relive all of our super-sweet, themed parties now that we’re grown ups. Who wouldn’t want to invite all of their friends to a Beatlemania bash when said friends are actually of an age to appreciate the Beatles, instead of being snotty teenagers who think the Fab Four are “old people music”?

I had a John Lennon cake for my 14th birthday, guys. Shout out to Angelfire for archiving my crappy website and allowing me to find this relic.

I remember one birthday in particular when I was just discovering music. Already painfully harassed at school for said “old people music” obsession, I decided that I was going to have a party to show how cool and hip I was. I handmade invitations that year and decided my theme would be a… wait for it… Coolio party. Okay, remember, this was the mid-to-late 1990s when Coolio was the shit, so this was actually a solid plan in theory. Truthfully, I was more familiar with Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise” than the original “Gangsta’s Paradise,” but I was confident that this was going to be the thing that proved to all those dumb kids at school that I was a normal, rap-loving child of the ’90s, even if I did have to make it up as I went along.

As it turned out, I chucked the idea before the invites were done. (There may still be a few floating around my mom’s house somewhere.) Instead, I decided to stay in neutral territory: I had a bowling party that year, as you do, sans music. And, as for Little Allison’s days of being bullied, they continued until senior year when a popular, stoner kid in my journalism class discovered the Doors, started trying to channel Jim Morrison, and thought I was brilliant because I was reading No One Here Gets Out Alive, and I became socially acceptable by proxy. I should have had a Doors-themed birthday party that year. Dammit.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I, too, have a summer birthday; my [number redacted — classified] anniversary of arrival on this planet is on Monday. In celebration of all of us summer babies, here’s a special birthday-themed playlist. I thought about going slightly more esoteric with this, but when’s the last time you’ve seen a playlist where most every title has the word “birthday” in it, and, bonus, they’re all great songs? (Never. I did my research.)

Instead of spotlighting a handful, I’ll just direct you to the Spotify playlist. There’s no Beatles (because it’s Spotify), and “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” earns two entries (because who can choose between the Four Seasons and the Tuneweavers?). You’ll notice some usual suspects and some surprises. Make sure you stick it out to the end, because Steppenwolf’s “Happy Birthday” must be heard to be believed. Have a creepy birthday, people.

About Allison Johnelle Boron 94 Articles
Allison Johnelle Boron is a Los Angeles-based music writer and editor whose work has appeared in Paste, Goldmine, Popdose, and more. She is the founder and editor of REBEAT. Her karaoke song is "Runaway" by Del Shannon. Find her on Twitter.