The Lovin' Spoonful are primarily remembered, with good cause, as a good-time pop-folk-rock group. On one occasion, though, they summoned a stomping, menacing rock tune that was not just a little out of step with their usual image, but also turned into their biggest hit, reaching #1 in 1966. It was "Summer in the City," the perfect inner-city urban summer anthem, for those days when the heat and noise become almost unbearable, and even the nights are too hot for comfort. "Summer in the City," though, is ultimately a joyous tribute to city life, one that acknowledges that it's the very on-the-edge tension of the big city (most likely the Big Apple, given the Lovin' Spoonful's New York origins) that makes it so special. The song grips your attention from the opening bars, with its ominous descending two-note organ riff, punctuated by a doom-laden drumbeat. Then it's off into the minor-keyed verses, decorated by stuttering dramatic keyboards and John Sebastian's uncharacteristic (but excellent) urgent vocal, rolling out the lyrics of city images so fast that it seems like his tongue is on the verge of losing pace with them. But with some ascending notes, the song glides into a merrier extended bridge. And the more upbeat tune in this portion is mirrored by more upbeat words, describing the relief when the sun sets and the temperature becomes more bearable, nightlife takes off, and you can find a girl (presumably to go dancing with and, most likely, go further with too). Greater melancholy returns at the end of this bridge, though, when Sebastian muses how it would be so much better if days were like the night when it's summer in the city. After those bridges, there's another great musical hook in the eerie guitar riffs backed by a floating organ, as if to symbolize creeping dangers around the corner (if only the inevitable rising of the sun to mark the end of the night and the onset of another brutally hot day). At one point when we hear that riff, there's a particularly inventive addition of honking horns and jackhammer sound effects, aurally (and, mercifully, briefly) illustrating how the city can get irritating as well as exciting. The minor-keyed stuttering keyboard riff returns to introduce the instrumental fade, which fades completely just as the point where the organ takes the melody into a slightly more chipper place. "Summer in the City" will be a perennial due to its eternal tie-in with the hottest days of the year, but it's also a great rock classic. It also served as the theme song for the acclaimed German filmmaker Wim Wenders's first feature film of the same name, playing as the soundtrack to an incongruous but memorable scene in which the main character walks on a brutally cold day, surrounded by snow. Incidentally, although John Sebastian wrote most of the Lovin' Spoonful's original material, this song was a collaboration between him, the group's bassist Steve Boone, and Sebastian's brother (and non-group member) Mark Sebastian.