Tag Archives: Porgy & Bess

Summer Songs, Friday: “Summertime”

“Summertime” is a perennial favorite.  Originally written by George Gershwin, the song has become something of an American standard and classic.  Even though it was written for the opera Porgy & Bess, remarkably it sounds like a folk song that has since become part of the American consciousness.  Wikipedia states that are over 15,000 different versions of the song recorded to date.

The song is perhaps most notable for its opening lines, “Summertime and the living is easy”.   Whether or not that is true for everyone, I personally think it’s a life that many Americans seek.  (Until researching for this post, I had no idea that it was originally sung as a lullaby in Porgy & Bess.  Bess sings it to Clara’s baby.)

There are several different versions of this song, which I love.  My favorite version is Sam Cooke’s (almost anything Sam Cooke did was better than anyone else’s – except for his version of “Blowin’ in the Wind”.)

Billie Holiday also does a great version as well:

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