Oh Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess

Frank Sinatra

A “cover version” is a whitewashed, “cleaner” arrangement of a pre-existing African-American popular song. These versions were intended for white consumption and were immensely popular. This is most prevalent in the early Rock n’ Roll era when singers such as Perry Como and Dorris Day covered songs by famous black R&B artists such as Little Richard. However, even with regard to Porgy and Bess we can find cover versions of the hit tunes. Here’s an example of the legendary Frank Sinatra singing the heartfelt plea of Porgy towards his missing Bess. Compare and contrast with the preceding examples.

Frank Sinatra

George Gershwin

(1898 - 1937)