to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember with Shirley
Griffith. This week on our program, we play some of our favorite songs about
If you ask most Americans, they would
say their favorite season of the year is summer. The weather is warm. They do
not have to wear heavy clothes to keep warm. Young people do not have to go to
school. They can do many activities outside, like playing sports and swimming
at the beach or the pool. They like the sunshine during the day and the warm
summer nights. People have written and recorded hundreds of songs about summer.
These are some of our favorites.
One of the most famous songs about
summer is from George Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess." He wrote the
music in nineteen thirty-five. The opera takes place in the southern United
States. It opens with these words: "Summertime and the livin' is easy.
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high." Leontyne Price sings the song.
Here is Billy Stewart's version of the
nineteen fifties and sixties produced many songs about teenagers enjoying their
summer vacation from school. The songs are about having fun, swimming in the
ocean, driving in cars. This one is "Summertime, Summertime" by the
It is summer almost all year long in
California. And it was summer all the time for the Beach Boys. They sang about
their favorite activities, like riding the ocean waves on surfboards. Here is
one Beach Boy song, "All Summer Long."
for some teenagers, summer vacation was not all fun and games. Some of them had
to work to earn money. Eddie Cochran sang about this in "Summertime
Blues." Many other bands and artists later recorded this song, including
the British rock band, the Who.
Lovin' Spoonful was a band that did not love summers in the city because of the
heat. They sang: "Hot town, summer in the city. Back of my neck getting
dirty and gritty." And: "All around, people looking half-dead,
walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head." They liked the
nighttime better when they could dance and have more fun. "Summer in the
City" was released in the summer of nineteen sixty-six and was one of the
Lovin' Spoonful's greatest hits.
though it was hot, Sly and the Family Stone still found ways to have fun in the
summertime. This song is about the happiness that the season promises,
including going to a "county fair in the country sun."
In the nineteen nineties, DJ Jazzy Jeff
and the Fresh Prince produced this hip-hop song called "Summertime."
It is about being with friends and having a good time.
you with a song from the movie version of the musical "Grease." It is
about two teenagers who meet during their summer vacation and fall in love.
Back at school in the autumn, they tell their friends all about it. John
Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sing "Summer Nights."
program was written by Shelley Gollust and produced by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve
Ember with Shirley Griffith. Transcripts and MP3s of our programs can be found at
voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA