Letter from the Director: Summertime Tunes

Dear Greene County Public Library friends and family,

Seasonal music. We think of seasonal music around the holidays—carols in the winter, renditions of “Ghost of John,” “Werewolves of London,” and “Monster Mash” in the fall. But what about seasonal music for the summer? What if I told you there was one song that would satisfy you, no matter your musical tastes? Sound too easy?  

Well, in the summertime, the livin’ is easy.  

I’m of course talking about the George Gershwin tune, “Summertime.” Whether you’re a fan of British Invasion bands, 60s pop, the crooning of Billie Holiday, opens a new window, the pipes of Ella Fitzgerald, opens a new window, or the ska influences of the 90s band Sublime, “Summertime” has you covered. All told, the jazz standard has been covered more than 25,000 times. (Technically, Sublime doesn’t cover the song; they reinterpret it and call their version “Doin’ Time.”) 

Originally composed as an aria for the 1934 opera Porgy and Bess, the song has been covered, rerecorded, and reimagined for eighty-five years. Best of all—the library has access to whatever version floats your boat. You might want the version of the Zombies singing “Summertime” at the end of their live album. Or you might prefer what many call the definitive recording of the song by Janis Joplin. Maybe you want the classic version with Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by Louis Armstrong on the trumpet. The library has them all.

Karl Colón, Director