The number six song on our Top 9 Summertime countdown extends across the spectrum from the innocent to the seedy. “Ice Cream” man was written and released in the early 1950s by Chicago bluesman John Brim but made most famous a quarter century later when Van Halen included it on their phenomenal debut album.
Lead vocalist David Lee Roth lobbied to have this somewhat obscure cover included on Van Halen’s debut and he liked the song so much, he re-recorded it for a later solo album.
With lyrics crafted from double-entendres, this song at once portrays the innocent symbolism of a childhood treat and the coded interplay of adult interactions. Musically, the Van Halen version also brings together two disparate vibes, with the early verses being laid back, acoustic blues before the song explodes into a hard rock frenzy, complete with a classic early guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen.
Listen to “Ice Cream Man”: