Who Recorded the Best Ever Cover of Summertime?

By Jordan Kushins on at

Forget about any of those other fool who are cranking out summer hits this season. Today is the time to make your case for the best ever cover of that all-time classic: Summertime.

The song was composed by George Gershwin—a prolific maestro who wrote a whole songbook of standards about a century ago—for the opera Porgy and Bess in 1935, and it has since been recorded tens of thousands of times by tonnes of artists all over the world. How do we know this? Because there's a group of 11 superfans going by the name "The Summertime Connection" who have collected over 25 thousand recordings—of 33 thousand that they know of—because they love it that much. I dig their dedication.

And I dig this song because it's slow and sexy and sounds like something that would be crooned in an overheated bar at dusk with all the windows open while people sway with a drink in their hand that's beading, and dripping, because it's too damn hot to stay cool.

So! Here my top picks:

Sam Cooke

Janis Joplin


The Zombies

Ella Fitzgerald

Billie Holiday

Who am I missing? And, more importantly, who is the King (or Queen) of Summertime?