Just to enhance the fun, there could be two types of songs for your summer party: those you play as background during games, chatter and the main meal; and those you play when everyone gathers around after dinner to sing their favorite summer party songs:
1. Music for a pleasant, eclectic picnic background sound, with some instrumentals only:
a. The things we did last summer by the Beach Boys: A harmonic tribute to the season, and easy for everyone to sing along with it while munching on your barbecue goodies.
b. Summertime by Gershwin: A classic from the master’s opera, “Porgy and Bess”.
c. A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles: Their ungrammatical lyrics speak of anticipating heated love when they get home. It could inspire some of your romantic guests to leave early.
d. Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen: Even more ungrammatical, but when Bruce screams it out and thumps his guitar, who can tell? For traditionalists, the original 1930s song with the same title was an instrumental for a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers dance. Since then, it was recorded by Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett and other crooners. If your guests are mature enough to remember the old one, play both songs.
e. If some of your guests have served in uniform, Anchors Aweigh, The Marine Hymn and other service songs make listenable music during dinner. As each song begins, you can ask those who served in that branch to stand and be honored.
f. 1812 Overture: This traditional holiday number is played at summer concerts. For your party, maybe some modest fireworks can make for added pleasure.
2. Music to play where everyone is welcome to sing along. You may print up the lyrics and hand the sheets out when the singing is about to start:
a. In the good old summertime: A traditional song with lyrics that’ll make everyone sway while singing along.
b. Take me out to the ballgame: You could pass out “peanuts and Cracker Jacks” to go with the song.
c. We are family: As recorded by Sister Sledge and the Spice Girls, a tribute to women that calls for group singing. The men at the party can just sit quietly and drink their beer.
d. You are my sunshine: Perfect sing-along song for a summer party, even after the sun is setting.
Music can enhance your summer party, whether it just hums along in the background while everyone munches your barbecued goodies, and/or if it blares out in a hearty after-dinner sing-along.