Monday, October 11, 2021

Pre-Rock Pop Songs Covered By Rock Artists (An Occasional Series): Part I -- Special "Climate Change is a Hoax" Edition

From 1965, please enjoy incomparable power pop faves The Zombies, featuring the great Colin Blunstone on vocals and Rod Argent on a keyboard solo to die for, and their haunting cover of "Summertime," by George Gershwin and his lovely wife Ira. (Old joke.)

That's from the first Zombies album (which is a genuine classic) and the song itself, from the Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, dates from 1935. It's been covered by countless people over the years, in the rock era most notably by Janis Joplin, but I think this is the definitive version if there is such a thing.

I should add -- and I've said this on previous occasions -- that George Gershwin's early death in 1937, at the age of 38, was the greatest tragedy in the history of American music in the 20th century.


Anonymous said...


I'm in agreement with you about the early death of Gershwin. It's impossible to imagine the music we lost.

The Zombies version is wonderful but my two favorite versions are Big Brother's and the gonzo Billy Stewart rendition.

Captain Al

steve simels said...

I love the Billy Stewart version as well. Joplin not so much.

pete said...

Joplin not what you'd call a ballad singer, her standard approach to a song is to tear it to shreds. Compare her version of "A Woman Left Lonely" to the one Charlie Rich did a few years later.

Marc said...

For some reason, the Big Brother version really works for me. I like the slow tempo, I love the guitar part, and yes, I like the way Janis sings it.


Anonymous said...

It says a lot about what an incredible composition that "Summertime" is that it can stand up to so many wonderful interpretations.

I don't feel that Janis tears apart "Summertime" but skates up to the edge of ripping it apart but never steps over that line into overindulgence.

Captain Al