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Arts Desk

This Grammy-Winning Tune from the 1971 Film, Summer of '42, Became a Pop Sensation!

SummerKnows.jpg

Prolific film composer Michel Legrand wrote "The Summer Knows," the theme for the film Summer of '42, which won an Academy Award in 1971 for Best Original Dramatic Score. The theme song won a Grammy the same year for Best Instrumental Composition and became a standard recorded by a variety of artists. Watch these videos of the song, showing the music’s enduring and wide-ranging appeal across musical genres.

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The original version by Michel LeGrand from the soundtrack for The Summer of '42:

Peter Nero’s orchestral version hit 21 on the charts in 1971.

The pop tune became a standard, recorded by jazz artists including Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. 

Legrand's frequent collaborators, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, wrote lyrics, and the song was recorded by a host of vocalists, including Tony Benett, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan.

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Opera diva Jessye Norman recorded a jazz-tinged version of the song.

Listen to Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielmans' soulful rendition on harmonica.

Lyrics:

The summer smiles, the summer knows
And unashamed, she sheds her clothes
The summer smooths the restless sky
And lovingly she warms the sand on which you lie
The summer knows, the summer's wise
She sees the doubts within your eyes
And so she takes her summer time
Tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger
Twists the world 'round her summer finger
Lets you see the wonder of her arm?
And if you've learned your lesson well
There's little more for her to tell
One last caress, it's time to dress for fall
The summer knows, the summer's wise
She sees the doubts within your eyes
And so she takes her summer time
Tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger
Twists the world 'round her summer finger
Lets you see the wonder of her arms?
And if you've learned your lesson well
There's little more for her to tell
One last caress, it's time to dress for fall