Summer (The First Time) by Bobby Goldsboro (United Artists, 1973)

There are a few things that hit me when I hear this song. One, I can’t believe this was a Top 10 country hit. Two, that Bobby Goldsboro ever recorded a song that was this interesting. The arrangement, with its simple 12 string chord strums and bongo rhythms give it a lite tropical feel while the 7 note repetitive piano lick, and one note string holds give it a dramatic tension. It’s at once an uneasy feeling as well as a sensual one. No doubt this song was inspired by the 1971 film, Summer of 42. But the way Bobby sings it, you’ wonder if he was that 17-year-old talking about his one night of passion.

The story is of a young kid on the hottest day of the summer [110 in the shade? Are they hanging out in Death Valley?] when this 17-year-old catches the eye of a 31-year old woman, chillin in her gown on front her porch with a mint julep. Something told him she was good to go or maybe he was curious as to why she was wearing a gown when it was 2000 degrees out. Either way he goes up to talk to her wherein she lets him know, ‘Yeah, this is gonna happen. But it’s too hot here so let’s walk down to the water where it’s only 105 in the shade, if you can find shade.’ Anyway they get busy, fall asleep and he sees ‘the sun rise as a man.’

Then of course his parents who were worried sick that little Bobby didn’t come home that night find him on the beach buck naked with some older neighbor lady, both covered in sticky sand. She gets arrested and does 5-10 years. Bobby thinks about it 10 years later alone in his room and writes a song about it.

All kidding aside this is a very cinematic song and I actually find it hard to perfectly describe how this song feels so I’ll let the video do the talking. [Yes can you believe it? There’s a real video to this song!]

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11 Comments

  1. steve"greevy grouse spouse

     /  June 25, 2011

    the best ever summer romance pop song. i love the soaring violins, and that twelve string guitar just adds the pefect sound. i cannot say enough about this beautiful song. steve spose.

    Reply
  2. One of the best most sensual songs of all time
    Karen Clare

    Reply
  3. It’s deep, and Bobby Goldsboro gets deep and reflective in his songs, and that’s what I like about him.

    Reply
  4. The Chartist

     /  September 26, 2012

    Summery, sensual, subtly sexual sunshine pop.I also liked “Too many People which was a huge Northern Soul club hit in the UK and even have a soft spot for the extended Coke Jingle “Summertime” but please don’t let me ever here the odious “Honey” that record should have come with a label “warning -may induce vomiting”..)

    Reply
  5. Mordant

     /  February 2, 2013

    So if she was 31 in ’73, that would make her 70 or 71 now. Just sayin’…

    Reply
    • Mordant

       /  February 2, 2013

      Oops – it’s “ten years on”, so she’d be 80 or 81…

      Reply
      • She’s probably 83 now.

        I was 17 when this came out and I lived the fantasy! Still get goose bumps thinking about it!

  6. Fonzy

     /  April 28, 2017

    My favorite song of all time – a summer song icon!

    Reply
  7. In Grade 10, I studied lyric poetry in Mr. Martyn’s English class. This Bobby Goldsboro song could be studied in such a class-a statment that couldn’t be applied to “Honey”.

    Reply
  8. Herb

     /  July 3, 2018

    I love this old song , but I can’t help but wonder was the 31 year old who must have been hot to catch a 17 year old boys attention a cougar who liked teaching virgin teenage boys the facts of Life , or was she recently divorced or widowed young lady who was hurting badly and lonely , and in the beginning just was looking for some company of this nice looking kid but as the day went on and they talked they clicked , and her pain and loneliness took over and as the song goes she told him if you stay with me till the sun has gone away I will chase the boy in you away , Thanks Curious in NY.

    Reply
  9. This is one of my favorite 1970s song of all time. So out of left field for Bobby. Totally cool and so evocative of the early 70s. Green shag carpet and all. Love the string arrangement and of course the lyrics 🙂 Thanks for the review!!

    Reply

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