Friday, February 3, 2012

Music Friday: "Summertime"

It's apparently the most covered song ever. This New York Times blog post gives us 18 very different versions. My favorite is Norah Jones:

My favorites after that would be Miles Davis and Billie Holiday (the original). The worst might be Janis Joplin.


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I see you're trying to taunt me with your Janis comment. I shan't let it affect me.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The guitarist sounds like he started learning guitar a month ago and has just decided to try his hand at playing lead.

Ann Althouse said...

What a great song!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I like that about the guitarist! Big Brother was an underrated band; the roughness of their style was part of the evolution of a distinctive style in 1960s San Francisco.

It is, indeed, one of the best songs, and, if you'll allow me to say so, quite possibly the very best. Some people say it was influenced by the Yiddish song "Rozhinkes mit Mandlen" ("Raisins and Almonds") by Abraham Goldfadden, but I don't hear it:

Here, however, is a lovely (at least for the first 2:30) version of the Gershwin song itself in Yiddish:

Bob Ellison said...

I like that Norah Jones version as well, and I fully agree RE: Janis Joplin-- wrong voice and treatment for such a great song.

But I'm a purist who prefers the Leontyne Price rendition. Goosebumps every time. My father once saw her sing it live on stage, and it's probably the only time he was seen to cry as an adult.