♫ Summertime ♫ (Redux)

It seems that I play this one once every summer!  It’s a sultry song that perfectly fits in with those dog days of summer.  Last year when I played it, our friend Clive said he preferred a version by an artist I never heard of before, Lana Del Rey.  Curious, I went for a listen and … it’s not bad, really.  However, my favourite will always remain the one by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong … they’ve just got it, in my book.  Anyway, since Clive likes the Del Rey version, I figured some of you might too, so this year I’m including both!  Thanks for the suggestion, Clive!

This song was recorded by more artists than I can count on all my fingers and toes, including Mahalia Jackson, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Ricky Nelson, John Coltrane, Julie London, Angelique Kidjo, and Frank Sinatra, to name just a few.

With at least 25,000 versions, Porgy and Bess’s opening aria, Summertime, is the most covered song in the world.

Written in 1934, Summertime was one of the first compositions George Gershwin worked on for his brand-new opera Porgy and Bess. The jazz-inspired song is a lullaby for Clara to sing to her child, and it is reprised several more times throughout the opera. The versatile hit went on to be covered by thousands of artists, in every genre from disco to reggae. Unfortunately, Gershwin wouldn’t live to see his song become the world-famous one it is today.

Up until the release of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s Jazz album, Porgy and Bess, Summertime was still relatively unknown.

Fitzgerald’s cover quickly propelled the song into the limelight, not only cementing it as a jazz staple, but also as globally recognisable hit. The opera was even turned into a film two years later (featuring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge in the title roles), further propelling the song for greatness.

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong

Summertime and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’
So hush, little baby, baby, don’t you cry

One of these mornin’s, you’re gonna rise up singin’
Then you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But ’til that mornin’, there is nothin’ can harm you
With Daddy and Mummy, Mummy standing by
Don’t you cry…

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’
So hush little baby, don’t you cry

Oh don’t you cry
Oh don’t you cry
Don’t you cry
Oh don’t you cry

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Ira Gershwin / George Gershwin / Dubose Heyward

14 thoughts on “♫ Summertime ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ Summertime ♫ (Redux) — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. Thanks for playing both, Jill. Lana may not have the history of the original, but she’s definitely easier on the eye than Satchmo and her sultry voice is well suited to this song, I think.

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    • Well … I listened to it. As I’m sure you probably predicted, I didn’t care for this version at all. However, I’m glad you added it and expanded my horizons (I think.) Now, I shall go take a few ibruprofen to stop the pounding in my head. LuL


      • LuL2. There are much better versions of Janis, but when I found the Janis/Jimi combo I could not resist. Two of “the most talented people” of the whole Rock era together on stage. What I would have given to see the entire show — if this wasn’t a one-off.

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