Ah, Nostalgia: The Ultimate Song of the Summer

Why does a certain song draw up fond memories of summer gone by?
6:13 | 08/31/13

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Transcript for Ah, Nostalgia: The Ultimate Song of the Summer
All right, time to push some emotional buttons now. You remember the first time you heard "satisfaction" by the stones, or "every breath you take," by police, or when doves cry, or the macarena, or based on your taste, any time you hear one of them brings back the memories of mosquitos and sun. For these are summer songs, and as summer winds down, we set out to see what made the memory maker and learn your favorite of all time. ♪ ♪ Reporter: Ah, summertime, winding down now. But what fits best as a sound track to remember? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Reporter: It got a little competitive between miley's racy party hit. And maclemore's roof-raising rhymes. For many, this summer's anthem was a little tune about robin thicke who were not actually over-dressed. But in the past few years, the song of summer has become its own genre, with its chart and category. ♪ ♪ Reporter: We wanted to find out what makes a summer song stic stick. Two things that trigger memories are songs and smells. Two different things, but the minute you hear the song it takes you back in time, the minute you first heard the song. We headed to new york's z 100. Dj jj has been taking requests for years. You want to hear blurred lines? That is cool. They call it ear worm, it infects your soul, and you find at random times you sing the song, you may be in a board room. Or a meeting. Call me maybe ♪ ♪ Reporter: It is true, these songs of summer stay in your head forever because their catchy tunes capture the feeling of fun and summer. Katey perry, she is a california girl. She grew up in santa barbara. She knows bikinis, she knows roller skates. Reporter: That was the anthem of 2010. I wish you were a california girl ♪ Reporter: This one made us want to roll down the windows and belt it out down the 405, because life was a highway. There are certain bond memories between friends. Reporter: But of course, you can take it back to the beach boys doing almost anything of their early stuff. But let's go with this one. Surfing usa. Invented for the summer, it is all in the name. So all the songs they wrote were about getting to the beach, getting home from the beach, getting the girl to the beach. Reporter: There is even a science behind our love for Some studies in the uk show us that thinking back for songs can counteract nostalgia. So we asked for your choice, the winner? Wait for it. D.J. Jazzy jeff and fresh prison rapping about songs of summer. The barbecues, the crush that you never quite got over. I was in seventh grade and the song was playing everywhere. He was talking about going to barbecues and the temperature hits 88. And now, every time in the summer when it is 88 I think of that song. Reporter: But not all are actual hits, others just happen to break out the summer. They're not always that poetic, just songs about girls. Or cisco's song. ♪ ♪ there are silly songs, and they're dominant. It is like the guy you would have a summer fling with but probably break up with in the winter. Reporter: The songs are personal, each one of us is owned by the one song that will always take us back. I think for me, probably miley cyrus, party in the usa, it is a great song, about being free. Reporter: A lot of you share with us on facebook the songs that own you. Summer nights. I love that song. And my favorite memory is dancing at the club. It is like I own the music and the floor. All I want to do ♪ ♪ is have some fun. Reporter: All I want to do by cheryl crow, the summer of '94, hawaii, staying in a house with complete strangers. Fun times. Summer of '69 by brian adams. I graduated from school, had a job, a boyfriend, just the best days of my life. Brian adams recorded that song in 1984, having nostalgia for his own summer days, and that seems to be a key part of this. It is not just the summer now, but the summer when you were the youngest and free. Reporter: And the great thing about it is that we'll all get old some day, maybe, but summer songs never do. Those were the best days of my life. Reporter: In washington, for "nightline." Back in the summer of '69.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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