The Summer Wind

Tuesday July 25th 2017

Ava Gardner at the beach in Tossa da Mar in 1951. A sirocco from one of Sinatra’s earlier summers.

A little easy listening for summer.

This melancholy song with its beautiful lyrics has been covered many times. I didn’t know it was initially a German tune — Der Sommerwind — which Johnny Mercer heard and translated into English. I’ve been listening to many versions on YouTube.

Here are my four top picks, plus the astrological information I can find about each singer.


This is the great lyricist, musician and founder of Capitol Records Johnny Mercer himself, singing his own words. It’s confident, wistful, grown up, sophisticated, precise. Also, unlike a lot of versions, it’s perfectly paced.


Scorpio Sun, Aquarius Moon, Leo Rising.

I wonder if you can hear that Scorpio precision, the coolness of the Aquarian Moon able to look back unsentimentally but with full emotional memory.
Note: hurting Chiron in the 7th house of partners. NN in Gemini, the lyricist’s sign.

Birth data is from Planet Waves.


Frank kills it, of course, with an arrangement by the great Nelson Riddle. This album, produced in 1966, was their last collaboration. This was the first version I knew. It’s hard not to think of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra on the Costa Brava a decade and a half before this album was recorded. Of course, that summer (1966), Sinatra was involved with Mia Farrow — another summer wind that blew itself out in less than two years.

It goes without saying that Sinatra’s interpretation is impeccable — the lyrics are perfect for his brand of sardonic, sophisticated nostalgia. But just listen to the music too, so subtle, complex and simple. It lifts the whole thing.

Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Pisces, Libra Rising

Note Neptune (music and glamour) on the MC — and no wonder he’s the master of heartbreak and loneliness: Chiron and Jupiter in Pisces in the 5th house of art. I think Pallas gives him that clarity of expression, perhaps.

Now, here’s a version delivered in the original German by Israel’s answer to Cher, Esther Ofarim, in 1970.

Esther Ofarim and her husband Abi were big stars in the 1960s, especially in Europe. They divorced in 1970 just before this was recorded. I think she sings with her heart here.

This is a sunrise chart for Esther.

Gemini Sun (part of a famous duo), Moon in Aquarius (like Mercer) and opposite Pluto, and Neptune conjunct the NN.

Sunrise chart as no birth time.


And finally, a version without the fancy orchestration by Madeleine Peyroux. She pitches the tender wistfulness just right.

This is a sunrise chart as no birth time.

Note Peyroux’s strong Capricorn voice & likely Moon-Neptune conjunction.

There are some other good versions, although a few really oversell the song, or over-orchestrate it. I like Barry Manilow’s — very straightforward. Brenda Lee is just too cheerful. Jane Morgan’s is kind of kitsch with crooning backing singers, but she has got a great voice.

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  1. George H Brock says:

    Thank you for the fascinating tour and the really beautiful painting.

  2. Vesta says:

    Oooh! My NN is in Gemini! I should write more. 🙂
    Thank you for a great post.

    • Vesta says:

      Difficult to pick a favourite, they’re all unique in their own way. Going to look up Esther Ofarim though, so maybe hers. I haven’t heard of her before and I like her voice. 🙂

  3. mimi says:

    Hi christina,
    thanks for this.

    I have listened to all five of these songs now and I must say I prefer the German version. Translated into English it becomes a different song somehow.

    Listening to the German song I hear the loneliness of the woman who is left behind and I can hear her loneliness which makes it for me a very romantic song. The English version is much more aloof, maybe because of the English language. In my opinion it’s meaning in German was not really captured in English.


    • Christina says:

      I do think it’s subtly different in the two languages. But also, different in the mouth of a man or a woman…

  4. aqua says:

    Esther Ofarim voice and version were just extraordinary. Almost too painful to listen to in its intensity combined with the purity of her voice.

  5. Jools says:

    Lovely Christina 🙂 Do you know the painting and the painter of the two women dancing? I’ve been looking at write-ups of Dunkirk. The Sea. So the poems: ‘Dunkirk – A Ballad’ by Robert Nathan is quite heartwrenching plus it reminds me of ‘Overheard on a Saltmarsh’ by Harold Munro, also from my childhood.
    Always love Madeleine-but wonder why so many Caps are such beautiful singers, Thinking of Joan Baez. You’d think they’d be into banking:0 But the fish-tails maybe won’t let them get away from the ocean. Who knows? Ta anyway.

    • Christina says:

      Hi Jools
      I’ve written a whole thing about Caps and singing somewhere on here — Elvis, Scott Walker —
      I need to look up the picture!