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"Theme from 'A Summer Place'"
Single by The Lettermen
from the album The Hit Sounds of the Lettermen
B-side "Sealed with a Kiss"
Released 1965
Format 7" single
Length 2:05
Label Capitol
Writer(s) James Owen, Max Steiner
The Lettermen singles chronology
"Girl with a Little Tin Heart"
"Theme From 'A Summer Place'"

The "Theme from A Summer Place" is a song with lyrics by Mack Discant and music by Max Steiner, written for the 1959 film, A Summer Place, which starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. It was recorded for the film by Hugo Winterhalter. It is one of the most well-known examples of beautiful music.


Percy Faith version

Percy Faith recorded the most popular version of the tune, which spent an at-the-time record of nine consecutive weeks at number one on the still-young Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in early 1960[1]. It remains the longest-running number-one instrumental in the history of the chart. It reached number two in the UK. It hit number one in Italy under the title "Scandalo Al Sole".

Faith won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1961 for his recording. This was the first movie theme and the first instrumental to win a Record of the Year Grammy.

Faith re-recorded the song twice – first, in 1969, as a female choral version, then, in 1976, as a disco version titled "Summer Place 76".

In 2008, Faith's original version was ranked at number eighteen on Billboard's top 100 songs during the first fifty years of the Hot 100 chart.[2]

Other cover versions

The song was the title cut to Billy Vaughn's 1960 number-one album. The song was well-accepted by R&B audiences of the day, reaching number two on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

"Theme from A Summer Place" was also covered by Dick Roman, The Tornados (both in 1962), The Lettermen in 1965 (placing at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100) and The Ventures in 1969.

Andy Williams sang a deft, authoritative, and sublime rendition of "Theme from A Summer Place" on his 1962 Gold-certified album Moon River. A very impressive jazz version of the song was recorded by the legendary singer Julie London. It appeared on her album, Our Fair Lady in 1965.

American pop singer Eamon sampled "Theme from A Summer Place" for his 2006 song "Elevator". The melody serves to illustrate the song's exploration of "elevator music" as an aphrodisiac.

A version with lyrics was recorded by Bobby Vinton.

Uses in other media

  • Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean sang part of the melody in the fadeout of another song, "Like a Summer Rain" (1966).
  • The song is heard coming from the 8 track tape that Charlton Heston pops into his Ford LTD's car stereo at the beginning of The Omega Man (1971).
  • In National Lampoon's Animal House, Stork and his toga party date dance while the song plays.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Jasper sings this song only by repeating "Theme from A Summer Place" over and over, apparently assuming that these words constitute the full lyrics.
  • It was regularly used by the cult 1970s BBC radio sketch comedy show The Burkiss Way to begin its "intermission" sketches.
  • The BBC TV comedy Monty Python's Flying Circus similarly used the theme comedically as "intermission" music between its sketches.
  • It is also the theme song of Miami radio station WAQI 710 Radio Mambi's show Marta Flores La Noche y Usted.
  • The song is both used and referenced in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oz is asked "what a girl would have to do to impress him." He responds that "it involves a feather boa and the theme from A Summer Place." Much later in the series, in the episode "Him", slow-motion shots of a jock who unknowingly casts a love spell over several of the main characters, and their reactions (including those of Willow, who is a lesbian), are set to the song itself.
  • The song is playing in the background during a scene in the 2001 remake of Ocean's 11 in which a couple involved in an affair are talking in a restaurant. A major theme of the movie "A Summer Place" is marital infidelity.
  • The animated TV show Freakazoid! features the "Theme from A Summer Place" as the recurring theme for the Relax-O-Vision gag in the episode also called "Relax-O-Vision".
  • In the 1989 film Batman, when The Joker meets Vicki Vale in the museum, he sits down at her table and plays the song on cassette to set the mood.
  • The song was used extensively in the television miniseries, Rose Red.
  • Used as background song in the movie Con Air in the scene where the body falling from the sky.
  • Played in Rocky III, when Rocky defeats his final opponent.
  • Used as a background song in a scene from the Tom Hanks film The Terminal.
  • Played at James Owen's wedding scene from the movie America and Back in 30 Days.
  • Used as background music for astronaut's wives fashion show in the episode "The Original Wives Club" episode of HBO's miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
  • Plays on a continuous loop at the entrance to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
  • Lindsey Buckingham hums the melody during the coda of his song "You Do or You Don't" on his 1992 album Out of the Cradle.
  • The recording by Percy Faith and his Orchestra is featured in the film "Surf's Up" (2007).
  • The Subway restaurant chain has recently (2009) featured the song in television commercials.
  • The song has also been used by ITV to advertise the new format version of The Bill in 2009.


  1. ^ CD notes: Billboard Top Pop Hits: 1960
  2. ^ Billboard Hot 100 Chart 50th Anniversary – The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (20-11)
Preceded by
"Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Percy Faith version)
February 16, 1960 – April 18, 1960 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Stuck on You" by Elvis Presley
Preceded by
"The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single of the year (Percy Faith version)
Succeeded by
"Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis


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