Photo: Polydor

I don’t know where you are, but where I’m at it’s hot as hell outside. It’s been in the 90s and a weather notification on my phone this morning mentioned the words “heat wave.” Well, you know what song somehow manages to work perfectly in hot ass weather, even if it’s one of the coolest songs of all time? Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.” It’s perfect sit-in-your-window-with-a-fan-blowing-from-the-inside-watching-the-world-sweat-outside music.

Roy Ayers Ubiquity “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” (1976)

Somehow, “...Sunshine” is one of those songs that I think everybody manages to grow up with in the black community (I have no idea how popular this song is in the not black community, though I’ve absolutely seen it in movies with less than 1 percent black people). Even if you don’t know who created it, you absolutely know it. I’d put money on this. Undoubtedly, there will be people who have never heard it...and if so, you’re welcome.

Roy Ayers’ entire catalog is good as far as I’m concerned, but I’m also a huge fan of the fusion jazz movement. Artists like Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock managed to merge funk and soul into jazz and I’m here for all of it. The ‘70s is my favorite era for music, bar none, because so much good soul, funk and jazz was released and Roy Ayers and the many acts he worked with managed to be front and center for the whole decade.

There’s also something amazingly nostalgic about “...Sunshine.” It takes me to picnics and cookouts and knee-high socks and running around playing tag for hours. I also think most songs by black artists that mention the summer have a way of doing that. There’s a reason why DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” will far outlive everything on this planet but possibly the roaches. Roy’s vibraphone action is superb and when you add in the synths and the “my life, my life, my life, my life...in the sunshine” line, well, you have a song that belongs on the soundtrack of many of our lives. It works so well, Mary J. Blige remade it into the song “My Life” on the My Life album as she talked about...her life.

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Shouts to Roy Ayers and helping craft the sound of my youth, even if the song came out two years before I was even born.