EDIT: No longer a sixteen song entry, we're up to thirty three versions of "Summertime." Do you have one you'd like to share...?
"Summertime" by Sarah Vaughan"
This is the version I think of when I hum this song (which, unfortunately, is constantly). Sarah's Broadway quality vocals are top-notch here. I know this version was already posted, but in case you hadn't picked it up already, I'm making you do it now!
"Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong"
Ella and Louis duetting to make this version an absolute classic—it doesn’t get much better. Slinky and cool, this'll make you long for lazy, hazy days of shucking corn, harassing cows, being assaulted by mosquitos in bogs, and sweating from each and every pore. Maybe those were just my summers.
"Summertime" by Nina Simone
A long intro segues into the sexiest, most soulful rendition my ears have had the pleasure of hearing. Nina infuses the simple lyrics with heat and just a touch of malice.
"Summertime" by Billy Stewart
Absolutely one of the most fun songs I've ever heard, "Motor Mouth" Billy Stewart putting everything but the kitchen sink into this five minute long jam-session. If you're not smiling ear to ear by the end of this cut, something's gone wrong! The vocal work here is astounding, and the sheer silliness and sense of play inherent in this track is just a joy to hear.
"Summertime" by Morcheeba
In a totally different vein, Skye Edwards and Morcheeba fuse the lyrics with a slow, trip-hoppy beat to create a chill-out wave...it'll carry you away into the heat-shimmering horizon.
"Summertime" by Angelique Kidjo"
Angelique's vocal work here is not to be beat. The Beninois singer eschews all original lyrics and instruments and instead opts to perform the entire song a-capella. It's interesting to note that her backing chorus follows exactly the instrumentation of the American classic, but Kidjo herself changes around the lead vocal part. This version may be a bit off-putting at first, but I suggest giving it a few listens before you judge it; it grew on me and I now find myself humming it all the time.
"Summertime Early Fall Mix" by Sublime
The ultimate trip-out cover, Sublime gives this song a treatment worthy of a classic. Adding an addictive beat and some new lyrics tinged with danger and malice, this is a great strolling song.
"Summertime" by Susana Baca
Peruvian singer Susana Baca lends a bit of soft sweetness in her version of “Summertime.” Her accent gives an almost child-like air to the song, and her hummed refrains wrap around your ears like a cool breeze. Lazy and easy, this song meanders its way through the minutes like a long summer sunset.
"Summertime acoustic" by Kuba
Something about this strange acoustic version really strikes me as original. Maybe it's the accent, maybe the little additions along the way. Give it a try, you might like it as well.
"Summertime" by Janis Joplin
Though it was already posted, what collection is complete without Janis’ cat-like yowl? If you’ve never heard it before, I command you to whisk it away from the link and prime your ears—your summer won’t be complete without it.
"Summertime" by Redhot and Blue
This one is weird, plain and simple. I'm not even that sure that I'm a fan, but it's so original and strange that I figured I had to include it. Even if you don't like it for the first few minutes, I suggest sticking it out because it seems to change styles every forty five seconds or so. This track manages to use a choir to both sound like a scat group and a traditional church choral piece at the same time. That's covers for ya!
"Summertime" by Nick Drake
Lazily sung with a guitar and song wicked reverb on the mic, Nick Drake adds his own touch to the song basically by adding nothing at all. Spare, sparse and languid, it's a short track that stands out for its unadorned simplicity.
"Summertime" by Denise Pelley
Jazzy, light, and sweet, this is a loungey take on the classic. Put this on the speakers and sip a glass of cold dessert wine on the porch, this version will let your mind ride away on its lovely piano ticklings.
"Summertime" by Ray Baretto
A languid Latin jazz cover with no vocals but a velvety smooth saxophone playing the melody. Super calming and easy on the ears, it’ll make you float off into the summer haze if you’re not careful.
"Summertime" by Rosinha De Valencia
Brazilian beat-masters Rosinha de Valencia start their track off slow and simple with nothing but guitars and some static wash. Midway through, a slow, trippy beat comes wafting through and is joined by some violins that give the aural impression of washing waves. A ‘lounge’ sounding little track that’s refreshing and cool.
"Summertime" by Santo & Johnny
1950’s/60’s masters of steel guitars, this spare and lazy track is nothing but two guitars picking their way with wistful precision. A quick track that rounds out the set!
All right, I think I've squeezed that poor piece for all it's worth. Gershwin'll never forgive me...
If anyone has more versions, throw 'em into the comments to enlighten us all! I need enough for my playlist to last me all summer long.