Top 10 Pool Party Songs

pool party
Photo by Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

One of the best ways to cool off in the hot summer is a pool party, and a key element is great summertime music! 

01
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Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations" (1966)

Beach Boys Good Vibrations
Courtesy Capitol

The Beach Boys' masterpiece was first released in October 1966. It remains a classic that exudes the spirit of summertime attraction. "Good Vibrations" is part of the Grammy Awards Hall of Fame. It reached #1 on the pop singles chart.

The complex layered recording put together in six distinct sections is recognized by most pop music scholars as one of the top landmark recordings of all time. It created new standards for what could be achieved in studio recordings and introduced instruments like the jaw harp and theremin to pop music. Despite the complexity, "Good Vibrations" maintains an ambiance of summer fun.

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02
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Mariah Carey - "Fantasy" (1995)

Mariah Carey Fantasy
Courtesy Columbia

Mariah Carey's breezy #1 smash "Fantasy" was built around a sample from the Tom Tom Club's dance-pop hit "Genius Of Love." It is a breezy, upbeat classic. The song was the first single from Mariah Carey's Daydream album and announced her journey into contemporary hip-hop influenced pop. The embrace of hip-hop would become even more pronounced on her next album Butterfly.

"Fantasy" became the second song in Billboard chart history to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It eventually spent eight consecutive weeks at the top. "Fantasy" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal.

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03
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Smash Mouth - "Walkin' On the Sun" (1997)

Smash Mouth Fush Yu Mang
Courtesy Interscope

"Walkin' On the Sun" was the debut single by the rock band Smash Mouth. The song is a spiritual descendant of garage rock from the 1960s. It was an instant party classic and climbed to #2 on the mainstream pop radio airplay chart.

The members of Smash Mouth had backgrounds in rap and punk music. The group's name was originally Smashmouth based on an offensive strategy in football. However, Interscope Records insisted on separating the name into two words.

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04
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Len - "Steal My Sunshine" (1999)

Len Steal My Sunshine
Courtesy Work

Canadian band Len dug back into classic disco for inspiration on their big pop hit "Steal My Sunshine." It incorporates an instrumental segment from the Andrea True Connection's 1976 hit "More, More, More." Reportedly the vocal arrangement with alternating male and female vocals was inspired by Human League's #1 smash "Don't You Want Me." The song rose on the charts through late summer 1999 to peak at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Len earned a Juno Award nomination in Canada for Best New Group. They used a rotating lineup of musicians and were never able to repeat their initial success until going on a seven-year hiatus beginning in 2005. Brendan Canning, founding member of the celebrated indie band Broken Social Scene, was a member of Len at the height of their popularity.

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05
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No Doubt - "Hey Baby" (2001)

No Doubt Hey Baby
Courtesy Interscope

No Doubt's hit "Hey Baby" welds the band's ska influences to outright dancehall with a break featuring Jamaican star Bounty Killer. The song became one of the band's biggest hits peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal.

"Hey Baby" was one of the first songs recorded for No Doubt's album Rock Steady. The initial work on the song occurred while the band were recording in Kingston, Jamaica. Reggae legends Sly & Robbie provided the percussion for the track. "Hey Baby" was released as the lead single for Rock Steady.

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06
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Sheryl Crow - "Soak Up the Sun" (2002)

Sheryl Crow Soak Up the Sun
Courtesy A&M

Sheryl Crow's upbeat celebration of summer sunshine is a perfect laidback pool party track. Jeff Trott, her co-songwriter, said he came up with the idea for the song on a flight from Portland, Oregon to New York City. Sheryl Crow was backed by the vocals of acclaimed singer-songwriter Liz Phair and the song became a big hit across pop, adult contemporary, and dance charts in the summer of 2002. It topped the adult pop chart while reaching the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The accompanying music video was filmed as part of a promotional deal with American Express. The company used footage from the video production to put together their own commercial. The video was notable for encouraging a light, summer fun interpretation of the song.

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07
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Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy" (2006)

Gnarls Barkley Crazy
Courtesy Downtown Records

The song that introduced us to the duo of CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse still sounds instantly engaging and revolutionary. The string-laden R&B invites all listeners to sing along and celebrate leaving the ordinary cares of the world behind. "Crazy" peaked at #2 on the pop chart in the US and become one of the biggest pop hits of all time in the UK.

Danger Mouse's manager wanted "Crazy" to be released on an indie label with strong promotional resources, so he sent the song to Downtown Records in the UK. Prior to the release of the record, anticipation grew both due to the reputations of the two artists involved and BBC Radio One's early airing of a demo of the song. "Crazy" entered the UK pop singles chart at #1.

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08
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Katy Perry - "California Gurls" featuring Snoop Dogg (2010)

Katy Perry California Gurls
Courtesy Capitol

Katy Perry's "California Gurls" became an instant summer classic when released to kick off the season of summer pop music in 2010. It was also the first single from the landmark album Teenage Dream. The song was written as a response to the hit "Empire State Of Mind" about New York. Katy Perry believed California needed its own celebratory pop hit.

The song was originally titled "California Girls," but, after the passing of Alex Chilton, leader of the legendary pop-rock band Big Star, the "u" was incorporated in honor of Big Star's "September Gurls." Reportedly, Katy Perry selected Snoop Dogg to perform the rap verses on the record after searching through options in Wikipedia.

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09
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Justin Bieber - "Beauty and a Beat" featuring Nicki Minaj (2012)

Justin Bieber - Beauty and a Beat featuring Nicki Minaj
Courtesy Schoolboy Records

Justin Bieber's electronic dance-pop epic inspired a pool party music video. Co-produced by Max Martin and Zedd, the song soared on the charts. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 while going all the way to #1 on the dance chart.

Zedd originally wrote the song to include it on his own album. However, he thought that it didn't quite fit his style, so he reworked it with a team of songwriters for Justin Bieber to record. Rapper Nicki Minaj was one of the most in-demand collaborators when she was selected to appear on "Beauty and a Beat."

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10
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Major Lazer and DJ Snake - "Lean On" featuring MO (2015)

Major Lazer DJ Snake Leaon On
Courtesy Mad Decent

Two contemporary dance music titans, Diplo of Major Lazer, and DJ Snake combined for a big pop breakthrough on "Lean On," but the true star might be Danish singer MO. The song became one of the biggest pop hits of the summer in 2015 evoking steamy, sunshine-filled days and warm summer nights. "Lean On" climbed to #4 in the US and was a #1 hit in many other countries around the world.

A slower, reggae version of "Lean On" was offered to Rihanna to record, but she rejected it. It was the first top 40 pop hit for Major Lazer and was featured on the album Peace Is the Mission. The album climbed to #12 on the album chart and was certified gold for sales.

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