Summer in the City (2:41)

Cover of 20 Golden Hits

From 20 Golden Hits and 262 other releases

“Summer in the City” was a 1966 hit single by The Lovin’ Spoonful, written by Mark Sebastian (brother of John Sebastian) and Steve Boone. It came from their album, Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 13. The song featured a series of car horns, during the instrumental bridge, starting with a Volkswagen Beetle horn, and ending up with a jackhammer sound, in order to give the impressions of the sounds of the summer in the city. The song is ranked #393 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The signature keyboard part is played on a Hohner Pianet, and the organ is a Vox Continental.


When at Blair Academy, Mark Sebastian submitted the lyrics as a poem for the literary magazine. That poem, entitled “Summer In the City,” had the refrain “but at night it’s a different world, go out and find a girl, come on, come on and dance all night, despite the heat it’ll be alright, and babe don’t you know it’s a pity, the days can’t be like the night, in the summer in the city.” His older brother John changed the slower verses to a more upbeat model, keeping the title and the refrain. Mark’s part remains as he wrote it, words and music. Bassist Steve Boone added the instrumental coda in the middle.

Media appearances

The song was featured on The Simpsons episode “Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge”, Only Fools and Horses episode “Miami Twice”, in the opening scenes of the Bruce Willis action film Die Hard: With a Vengeance, in a Gatorade commercial


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