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Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" was released in August 1975. I was 17 years old, had just graduated from high school and was on my way to college in just a few weeks.

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About mid-July I get fried. Generally some horrible sunburn occurs around this time, but more so the sun fries me mentally. Going outside nearly guarantees temporary blindness, heat exhaustion and a nearly comical sweat-fest.

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The turntable is spinning, the sound system is hooked up and the bass can be felt vibrating the ground as the stars begin to cascade around the moon in a haze of cigarette smoke, empty bottles and cans.

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One night, while we smoked too many cigarettes on his back porch, he played the song "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards." He warned us about his apparent lack of skill in covering the Tame Impala track.

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When we were teenagers we defined ourselves through the music that we listened to, and I suppose that that is something which remains true for teens today. I wouldn't have been caught dead listening to James Taylor (even if I sat enthralled with "Sweet Baby James" when no one was around) and the same was true for big-band music. In the '70s, big bands provided the soundtrack of our parents' lives, which was synonymous with lame.

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A few tracks into Meatloaf's introduction to the world, a husky-voiced narrator asks, "On a hot summer night, will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?"

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Rope-swinging and drunk night swimming had to be what Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Chronicle, Vol. 1" was compiled for. A greatest hits collection that really does stand up to its claim, the album is sweating with the steamiest swamp rock ever put to tape.

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One of the most critically-acclaimed releases of the past few years, Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" sounds incredible no matter where you are. It's brilliantly crafted and doesn't have a stale track; no matter what the season it's worth a listen.

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Growing up in St. Louis in the 1970s, in the heyday of Peaches Records and KSHE "Real Rock Radio," I heard a lot of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

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We all like to think of summer as a mystical gap between spring and fall when time stands still, but the truth is that for most of us, summer is just like the other three seasons except with a lot more sweat.

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The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4