7 “Hot” Songs to Keep You Cool

As we’re midway through August, the hottest month of the year, we’re all trying to find ways to combat the extreme heat: sitting in front of the air conditioner, eating ice cream, going to the pool… the possibilities are endless. But none of them ever seem to hit the spot just the way we want it to. It’s hard to find the perfect solution to the problem of sweltering summer heat.

This got me thinking. What about a more musical cure for the heat? There are many songs from musicals that talk about heat, and as we’re here in this sometimes miserably hot month, let’s look to these songs to either distract us, voice how we’re feeling, or remind us to stop complaining because it’s not as hot as it could be. And while I’m not promising a magical cure to the summer blues, at least this list will provide a distraction for the time being. So without further ado, here are some “heat”-related songs to keep you occupied this August – some about the weather, and some about entirely different kinds of heat.

“It’s Hot Up Here” (Sunday in the Park with George)

Topping my list is this song from Sunday in the Park with George. It’s one of my favorite Sondheim songs because the concept is so clever. What exactly does it feel like to be trapped in a painting forever? Especially when that painting is set on a hot summer day?

Watch this video on YouTube.

“It’s Too Darn Hot” (Kiss Me Kate)

This classic, from Kiss Me Kate, is the perfect jazzy standard for a hot summer night. It perfectly evokes the feeling of being stuck in the heat and wanting to get up to some…mischief. There’s a reason why this song has become a standard and is covered by so many artists: everybody knows what it feels like to just be too. darn. hot.

Watch this video on YouTube.

“Hot Stuff” (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)

True, this song was not written for a musical. BUT it was interpolated into Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, so I’m including it as part of my list. It’s such a great disco hit you can’t help but want to groove along as you’re getting ready for a summer night out on the town. Plus, it always puts me in a good mood, even if the AC isn’t working.

Watch this video on YouTube.

“Heat Wave” (As Thousands Cheer)

This Irving Berlin standard was written for the revue As Thousands Cheer, but it has taken off as a classic of the American Songbook, having been recorded by countless artists since its premiere. This is a particularly lively rendition by Patti LuPone. I defy you to listen to it and not enjoy yourself.

Watch this video on YouTube.

“Gonna Be Another Hot Day” (110 in the Shade)

As the opening number of 110 in the Shade, this song perfectly sets up the location and the mood of the show. It’s H-O-T, and it’s going to stay that way. Just by listening, you can tell how lethargic the heat makes everyone feel, and sense how desperately they need it to rain. Listen to this song and just be glad you’re not one of these characters.

Watch this video on YouTube.

“Steam Heat” (The Pajama Game)

This classic from The Pajama Game features not only a great song by Adler and Ross, but also some of Bob Fosse’s most iconic choreography. Ironically, this song is about needing someone to keep you warm, not about trying to stay cool. But if you really want to sweat this summer, try learning some of those hat tricks!

Watch this video on YouTube.

“Hot Honey Rag” (Chicago)

Another classic from a Fosse show, this song has relatively little to do with heat, except for the hot dance moves involved. This number, featured at the end of the show, is a true showcase for the two stars of the show, and one of musical theatre’s most impressive dance numbers. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some sizzling hot choreography with a bouncy jazz score.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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