On this day in music history: August 13, 1966 – “Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian and Steve Boone, it is the biggest single for the New York based band. The song originates as a poem written by John Sebastian’s brother Mark, while he’s a student at the Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ. Sebastian and bassist Steve Boone put the words to music. The band hire an sound effects expert who adds the trademark “sounds of the city” effects to the records break from acetates he has in his sound library. The single is engineered by Roy Halee (Simon & Garfunkel) who also plays a vital role in the overall sound of the finished record, particularly its explosive drum sound. Released on July 4, 1966, it is an instant hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #56 on July 16, 1966, it rockets to the top of the chart four weeks later. “City” is one of the centerpieces of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s third studio album “Hums Of The Lovin’ Spoonful” released in November of 1966. The album which also includes the follow up singles “Rain On The Roof” (#10 Pop) and “Nashville Cats” (#8 Pop) is widely regarded by fans of the band as one of their best. Over the years, “Summer In The City” is covered by numerous artists including B.B. King, Joe Cocker, Joe Jackson, and Quincy Jones. Jones’ version is sampled as the basis of The Pharcyde’s classic single “Passin’ Me By” in 1992. The Pharcyde’s recording in turn is sampled R&B singer Joe (Thomas) and Mystikal’s #1 Pop & R&B hit “Stutter” in 2001. “Summer In The City” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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