I bet I have a blue million "mix discs" laying around and the cool thing is when I discover them and cannot remember what's on them. Always a nice surprise.

But I've a couple of discs whose locations are always known because they are my summer mixes. And they run the gamut as you will see.

Here are just 10 highlights (in no particular order):

  • 1

    Close Up the Honky Tonks

    Radney Foster

    Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam have both given us excellent versions of this one, but I'm a longtime Radney Foster fan. His voice never sounded better.

  • 2

    What Goes Around

    Justin Timberlake

    Something about this groove that makes this a definitive summer jam. Windows are down. Sun roof is open. And the best 'N Sync vocalist is ready to evoke.

  • 3


    Def Leppard

    This used to be called "heavy metal." Now it's the Carpenters compared to 2014 metal. Just kidding. This rocks just as awesomely now as when I was 17.

  • 4

    I Feel Lucky

    Mary Chapin Carpenter

    She's one of the greatest, most contemplative and deeply personal songwriters of all time. And when she's funny, nobody's better. And this is funny...still funny, in fact, 22 years later.

  • 5

    Old Flame


    My all-time favorite Alabama song, and one of the Fort Payne Gang's earliest. Its lazy country groove is perfect for the warm summer months. And it was written by Mac McAnally, in case you're looking for the icing on this cake.

  • 6

    Return of the Mack

    Mark Morrison

    The best beat of all time. The Lovin' Spoonful sang a classic called "Summer in the City." But Morrison's one-hit wonder DEFINES summer in the city. For me, anyway.

  • 7

    Middle of the Road

    The Pretenders

    Not a hit in the summer, but Chrissie Hynde's thunderous political anthem (weren't they all?) has always sounded best when I'm on vacation going about 80 down some interstate.

  • 8

    In the End

    Linkin Park

    I think this was the last time Linkin Park was good. At least we'll always have it. It's good to have a song you need to crank to hear above the wind rushing through the car. And this sounds best CRANKED!

  • 9


    Steely Dan

    These guys always remind me of Louisville. Don't know why. When I'd visit friends during the summer in Louisville, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were always the best soundtrack. And this is the best of that bunch.

  • 10

    Holding Back the Years

    Simply Red

    Lead singer Mick Hucknall's voice is an acquired taste, admittedly. And the song's video was shot in England where it NEVER looks like summer. But, to me, this has always sounded like 85 degrees and a hammock. And that's why it's here.