Summer Song Flashback: Santana Owns The Opening Of The Millennium

All this week, MTV News will be going through the nominees for this year’s official summer jam. You’ll be able to vote all week on the official 2010 summer song poll for one of our five nominees, which include Usher’s “OMG,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” B.o.B’s “Airplanes,” 3OH!3′s “First Kiss” and Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” You can also endorse your own pick for the official 2010 summer song (Drake’s “Find Your Love” and Taio Cruz’s “Dirty Picture” have already received endorsements from intrepid readers).

In addition to the new songs, we’re going to take a look back at some classic summer songs from the past 10 years. Today’s flashback takes us to 2000 and 2001, when “Mission Impossible III” and the original “Shrek” ruled the multiplexes, Al Gore actually thought he could become President of the United States and Cal Ripken, Jr. ended his storied baseball career.

2000: Even though the first year of the new millennium was flush with pop starlets and boy bands, the summer months belonged to a pair of middle-aged dudes. Fresh off their collaboration “Smooth” (which ruled the charts during the fall of 1999 but was still in heavy rotation by the time the summer of 2000 rolled around), legendary guitarist Carlos Santana and Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas each scored big follow-up hits that made them the kings of radio. Santana’s “Maria Maria” (a collaboration with Wyclef proteges the Product G&B) topped the Billboard Hot 100 during the early part of the summer and kept both singles from his hit album Supernatural in heavy rotation throughout the season. Meanwhile, Thomas’ band Matchbox Twenty had one of their biggest hits with “Bent,” a track that became the season’s definitive rock song despite the fact that it was sort of a downer. Just call 2000 the “Summer of Carlos.” Other Contenders: Aaliyah’s “Try Again” (groovy but too cool-sounding), Faith Hill’s “Breathe” (too country), Destiny’s Child’s “Jumpin Jumpin” (too jumpin).

2001: First of all, do you realize that the top single on the Billboard Hot 100 for all of 2001 was Lifehouse‘s “Hanging By a Moment”? What was going on there? But though that song made for a great anthem and a fine soundtrack to a spring fling, it certainly wasn’t the jam of the season. While there were a few hot R&B tracks that sounded good at beach parties, one stands tallest: Blu Cantrell‘s (remember her?) “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!).” It was the perfect combination of catchy chorus, bouncy beat, simple lyrics and just the right amount of stupidity to have it appeal across a number of different genre-lovers. Though it never hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, it deserves its rightful place as the summer jam of 2001. Other Contenders: Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” (too much jelly), Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” (pretty awesome, but he had a far superior song that was the official jam of 2002), Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women Part I” (too associated with “Charlie’s Angels”).

What were your favorite summer songs of 2000 and 2001? Let us know in the comments!