This is one of the most covered songs in history, with well over 2000 official recordings. The first popular cover was by Billie Holiday, who transformed it into a bluesy number. Janis Joplin's blues-rock version with Big Brother & the Holding Company is probably the best known, but other notable covers were recorded by Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Miles Davis, Ricky Nelson, John Coltrane, Julie London, Angelique Kidjo, and Frank Sinatra.
"Summertime" is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as "without doubt ... one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote ... Gershwin's highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century".
Janis Joplin performed this at the Woodstock festival in 1969. It was also the last song she sang in concert, as it was the last song in her set at her last show on August 12, 1970 at Harvard Stadium.
Summertime, time, time
Child, the living's easy
Fish are jumping out
And the cotton, Lord
Cotton's high, Lord so high
Your daddy's rich
And your ma is so good-looking, baby
She's a-looking good now
Hush, baby, baby, baby, baby now
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Don't you cry, don't you cry
One of these mornings
You're gonna rise, rise up singing
You're gonna spread your wings, child
And take, take to the sky
Lord, the sky
But until that morning Honey, n-n-nothing's going to harm ya No, no, no no, no no, no... Don't you cry, cry
Songwriters: Du Bose Heyward / George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin Summertime lyrics © T-Series