In the mid-1970s, few of the apartment buildings in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood had air conditioning. The buildings were too old and few could afford the electricity. The higher up in an apartment building one lived, the hotter it got. I speak from personal experience. I lived on the third floor of a walk up on Sheridan Road. It was insufferable when the temperature went over 90. There were many days when I wanted to do what these people are doing – take a chair to the street and sit in the shade. It reminded me of a song by The Lovin’ Spoonful back then called “Summer in the City.” It was written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, and Steve Boone. The lyrics started:
“Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head”
In August of 1966, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for three consecutive weeks. Rolling Stone ranks the song #401 on its list of the 500 All-Time Greatest Rock Hits.