Lana Del Rey has released a cover of George Gershwin’s song “Summertime”. The pop star surprise released the song tonight on social media alongside a vintage music video, which you can watch below.
Gershwin originally wrote “Summertime” in 1934 for the opera Porgy and Bess, but it didn’t reach its peak popularity until Billie Holiday covered it two years later. It’s since become a staple cover song for musicians on the pop charts, and the Norman Fucking Rockwell! singer is the perfect person to offer up a take; Her smokey singing style has long been heralded for its similarities to the very jazz era “Summertime” hails from.
Apparently Del Rey was asked to cover the song to help raise money for both the Los Angeles and the New York Philharmonics. As such, she’s asking fans to make donations to the “Play Your Part” fund at the LA group’s website and the “NY Plays On” fund at the NY collective’s website.
“I’m so grateful to have been asked to perform this version of summertime by George Gershwin — the legendary composer-pianist whose music the New York Philharmonic has premiered and with whom we performed — especially during a crisis faced by all performing arts organizations,” tweeted Del Rey. “I’m so happy to have recorded this song to support the wonderful arts institutions that are the LA and NY Philharmonic orchestras that have faced such difficult challenges this year. I’ll be donating to both to support them and loved making this video. I hope you like it.”
The accompanying music video for “Summertime” opens with Del Rey and her bandmates zooming down the road in a vintage car. A caption on the screen reads, “After a quick COVID test, the gang absconds back to the hideout!!!” Once they pull up, everyone grabs their acoustic instruments and descends on a dreamy patio in the middle of a tropical forrest. Scattered throughout the live footage are shots of the group giggling in the car while the green screen behind them displays different scenic roads.
Earlier this month, Del Rey announced a new album while eating at a Denny’s. It came as a complete surprise, but then again so have most of the things she’s been doing lately: dropping new songs, wearing mesh face masks, publishing a poetry audiobook, and having Bruce Springsteen call her “one of the best songwriters in the country.”