Anyone who's ever gone to the beach or taken a road trip with friends knows that there's a definite soundtrack to every summer. These songs have the ability to unite people from all walks of life, and they have the ability to transport us back to the summers of our past.
There are still a couple of contenders for the biggest summer hit of 2015, but the top spot probably goes to "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa, featuring Charlie Puth. This theme song from the summer blockbuster "Furious 7" pairs an emotional hook with clever wordplay, making it the perfect choice for a summer jog or a lazy day at the beach.
By CBS News Staff Writer Christina Capatides
2015: "Shut Up and Dance"
Another key aspect of summer is the almost universal feeling of freedom and joy people get when they're able to escape school and work for a bit of R&R. It makes people want to smile... It makes people want to play... And it makes people want to dance.
Thus, Walk The Moon's infectious dance track, "Shut Up and Dance," will likely make a serious play for 2015's top summer hit.
In the summer of 2014, the hottest track in North America was a collaboration between Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and British pop star Charli XCX. People literally could not turn on the radio without hearing "Fancy;" and by the end of the summer, Iggy Azalea had become a household name.
2013: "Blurred Lines"
Before it sparked controversy for its racy music video content... before it was the cause of a costly lawsuit by the family of Marvin Gaye, "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams was the breakaway summer smash of 2013.
2012: "Call Me Maybe"
Summer love has been a theme of seasonal anthems for years. So, Carly Rae Jepsen wasn't exactly inventing the wheel when she released her smash hit "Call Me Maybe," but she was singing about young love in a decidedly Millennial way. That topic matter, paired with the song's catchy melody and pop instrumentation, rendered it the much loved summer hit of 2012.
2011: "Party Rock Anthem"
An anthem about new love can make for a perfect summer hit, and so can an anthem about dancing. In 2011, however, the undisputed hit of the summer was an anthem about "party rocking."
"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO, featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock, stormed up the Billboard charts and never left, providing people across the country a perfect soundtrack for having a good time in the hot weather.
2010: "California Gurls"
Songs about California have functioned as summer anthems for years and years. Perhaps it's because of the state's summer-like climate. Perhaps it's because Californians are constantly participating in activities, like swimming and surfing, that people from other parts of the country associate solely with summer. Whatever the reason, Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg cashed in on this trend with their hit single, "California Gurls." The title itself is an homage to one of the classic summer songs from the Beach Boys.
2009: "I Gotta Feeling"
Summer is the unofficial, but widely accepted, season for having a good time. So, when a song hits the charts with an unquestionably feel good vibe, people seize it and don't let go.
That's what they did with "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas, rendering it the top summer hit of 2009.
2008: "I Kissed A Girl"
Summer is a time when people try activities they've never tried before. That can mean surfing lessons... sampling an exotic form of seafood... trying water skiing for the first time... kissing someone of the same sex...
Okay, so that last item there isn't for everyone, but it's the edgy content that scored Katy Perry the top summer hit of 2008.
What would summer be without a good summer storm? The rains come; they cool people off; and they make us want to turn on "Umbrella" by Rihanna, featuring Jay-Z.
We've talked about summer anthems that focus on new love, and we've talked about summer anthems that focus on partying. Think of "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado, featuring Timbaland, as the fusion of those two. What better recipe for a summer smash hit?
2005: "We Belong Together"
Summer isn't just about parties and romance, though. A big part of the season is R&R. So, every once in a while, the biggest track of the summer is a slow one; the kind of song you can listen to on your headphones as you lie on the beach catching some rays. Mariah Carey gave people just that sort of track with her single, "We Belong Together," and it ruled the summer of '05.
2004: "Confessions Part II"
Traveling to vacations and lying out in the sun afford people a lot of time to stop and analyze a song's lyrics. So, in 2004, when Usher came out with "Confessions Part II," a track about a man who has impregnated his mistress, Americans were spellbound. Was it about him? Was that infidelity what ended his long-time romance with TLC's Chilli.
In the end, the song's content turned out to be the real-life experiences of its producer, Jermaine Dupri, not Usher. However, that didn't stop curious listeners from skyrocketing the R&B track to the top spot in the summer of 2004.
2003: "Crazy In Love"
When Beyonce and Jay-Z teamed up on the song "Crazy In Love," the result was an upbeat pop-rap fusion track that pretty much everyone loved. It was the first single Beyonce released from her debut album as a solo artist after splitting with Destiny's Child. It was also her second collaboration with future husband Jay-Z. So, it's not difficult to understand why it was the biggest hit of summer 2003.
2002: "Hot In Herre"
"Hot In Herre" by Nelly is a case of the stars aligning perfectly to create a summer anthem for the ages. Fresh off his debut album "Country Grammar," Nelly was in the peak of his career in the summer of 2002. He'd experienced unprecedented success with his last single, "Rid Wit Me," and Americans were eager to hear what the St. Louis rapper with the bandaid on his face would come up with next.
So, when Nelly released "Hot In Herre" as the first track off his second studio album "Nellyville," Americans were listening. When the track was literally about partying in hot weather, it only served to stack the decks further in its favor.
2001: "Let Me Blow Ya Mind"
Another sure equation for a summer smash hit is when two of music's hottest stars team up together on a collaboration track. So when Eve and Gwen Stefani teamed up on "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," it blew more than people's minds. It blew the roof off the summer of 2001.
In the summer of 2000, the competition was steep for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; and "Bent" by Matchbox Twenty probably owes its overall top summer hit status to the fact that its release date was a full 18 days earlier than NSYNC's song, "It's Gonna Be Me." Still though, this alternative rock track was as catchy as it was cool, and people couldn't shake it from their heads all summer.
1999: "Genie In A Bottle"
1999 was a year of boy bands and pop divas, and Christina Aguilera scored the summer's top hit with her second single of her debut album, "Genie In A Bottle." She was new to the scene and Americans were spellbound by the combination of her beachy look and her powerhouse vocals. So, in the summer of 1999, practically every teenage boy wanted to date the "Genie In A Bottle," and every teenage girl wanted to be her.
1998: "The Boy Is Mine"
When Timbaland teamed up with Nelly Furtado, it paid off. When Puffy Daddy teamed up with Faith Evans, it paid off. When Eve teamed up with Gwen Stefani, it paid off. And when Brandy teamed up with Monica, they produced one of the most nostalgia-inducing summer tracks of all time.
"The Boy Is Mine" ruled the airwaves in the summer of 1998 because it featured two of pop music's biggest stars, battling it out for the same man. Everyone had a favorite. Everyone took a side. And everyone had this song in their CD player.
On July 17, 2015, Billboard released a list of the "100 Biggest Summer Songs of All Time," and this track came in second.
1997: "I'll Be Missing You"
Not unlike Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" in 2015, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans' "I'll Be Missing You" was a track that remembered a beloved public figure. East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down and killed in March of 1997. Puffy was his friend and Faith Evans was his wife. So, this track represented Biggie's loved ones remembering him. People were captivated.
On top of that, the song was infectious. It sampled its refrain from the 1983 Police hit, "Every Breath You Take," and built upon that familiar melody with heartbreaking verses of clever rhymes.
On July 17, 2015, Billboard released a list of the "100 Biggest Summer Songs of All Time," and this track took the top spot.
Nothing is more fun at a summer party than knowing the hottest new dance and breaking into it when its song comes over the loudspeakers. That's why Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" ruled the summer of 1996. It was upbeat. It was infectious. And most of all, it was a dance almost everyone could do.
While TLC's signature song, "Waterfalls," has some rather heavy topic matter underneath the surface, the lyrics to its chorus are all about bodies of water. And what better lyrics to propel a song to the top track of the summer than ones that make people think about cooling off?