Summer means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about avoiding work and enjoying barbecues. For others, it’s all about avoiding the heat and enjoying the water. And for a select few, it’s all about avoiding deadly projectiles while enjoying backyard games of Jarts.
But no matter what you’re up to this (or any) summer, you need a soundtrack.
The 12 albums on this list of the best summer albums of all time vary in the amount they’re actually about summer. (A few are really more about Southern California than anything else, but hey, it’s basically always summer there.) Just trust us — all of these records are ideal for beating the heat by rolling down the windows and turning up the volume.
Best Album For Sleeping Under The Stars (In Your Car)
AC/DC / Back in Black ($7 and up @ Amazon.com) | 1980
When frontman Bon Scott died in February of 1980 of alcohol poisoning — he choked on his own vomit after passing out in a parked car — his bandmates were understandably devastated. But then the plucky Australians found Brian Johnson, who happened to be the one person in the universe who could emulate Scott’s dentist-drill voice. They released this hastily put-together album in July of 1980 and kicked off the first of 30 summers (so far) that Back In Black — it’s sold 49 million copies and counting — would make totally kick-ass.