'What a wonderful world'

'What a wonderful world'

Yes, summer's out of reach, almost. It's time to get ready to return to class, make new targets - and daydream

As a student I always loved this time the most - right at the end of the summer holiday. After weeks of playing every day, it was exciting to know I was about to resume my studies and catch up with friends after the extended break. Often dressed in new shoes and school blazer, I'd be back full of anticipation about the new school year. The first few days were always a time of excited chatter in class ...

It was also a time for some new targets and dreams.

In Between Days by The Cure

A brilliant, big summer hit of 1985, with fast, furious guitars and a haunting melody ... about lost love and loneliness. Yet, it feels upbeat and invigorating. "Yesterday away from you, it froze me deep inside, come back, come back, don't walk away ..." Bet you can't stop jumping to this as you sing the lamenting line "Without you".

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley

A great song of long-lost summer love. Eagles vocalist Don Henley shows off his drumming roots with the catchy, offbeat cymbal and drum start, then the haunting guitar refrain and anguished vocals kick in ...

"Nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air, summer's out of reach ... I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun, you got your hair slicked back ... I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong, after the boys of summer have gone."

More than Words by Extreme

I've spent a few summers teaching English abroad; students love to listen to songs and discuss lyrics. At a college in Figueres, home town of Spanish artist Salvador Dali, this song, using a single guitar, was the huge favourite. Brilliant: "More than words is all I ever needed you to show, then you wouldn't have to say, that you love me ... I'd already know."

One More Chance by Madonna

Poignant and heartfelt ... this is Madonna's best song ... simple vocals and another fine guitar accompaniment. A great torch song for when summer love goes wrong and you want to try to get it back; if this doesn't work, then nothing will.

"I turned around too late to see the falling star. I fell asleep and never saw the sun go down. I took your love for granted ... just give me one more chance." Superb.

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

Stand outside with the sun on your face for just a minute. You'll feel better, instantly. It's the same after listening to this lovely, sweet song. "Little darlin', It's been a cold and lonely winter ... Here comes the sun, and I say, its all right." It's also a metaphor for positive change, too. George Harrison's vocals and guitar playing here, at a 1971 benefit concert for disaster-hit Bangladesh after the Beatles split, are great.

Daughters by John Mayer

A great song. More fine, yet simple, guitar work. It's perfect for when you take your guitar down to the beach to serenade the girl you love. "I know a girl, she puts the colour into my world. She's just like a maze where all the walls all continually change. And I've done all I can to stand on the steps with my heart in my hand ..."

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

A simple, charming, and upbeat song about the good things in life ... "I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

This was my mother's favourite and the very first song I remember learning to sing with my big brother as little boys one summer holiday. The great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong's version is a charmer.

Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers

More superb guitars and inspired vocals from the bare-chested American band on their wonderfully soulful 1970s song. It's hot, he's in love with her, and she's in love with him ... "Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom, when I get home, from a hard day's work, and she's waitin' there, not a care in the world ... ah, summer, summer breeze ... "

Better Together by Jack Johnson

Another perfect beach-side sing-along song... you can almost hear the waves hit the beach, as the bonfire flickers at sunset as Hawaiian Johnson sings it like it is. "Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart ... Sometimes life can be deceiving. I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together."

The Girl from Ipanema by Joao and Astrud Gilberto

This 1963 Brazilian classic is one of the most evocative summer tunes. You can almost picture Rio de Janeiro beach. I'm lucky to live near tiny Trio Beach, near Sai Kung ... I often listen to this on my headphones as I run for an early morning swim. Try to listen to the Portuguese-English version with Stan Getz's superb jazzy saxophone. It's perfection.



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