What hasn’t been said or written about Queen Nina Simone? She has been called an icon, a legend, and a genius, and she is one of my favorite artists of all time and I would be remiss if I didn’t use my blogging platform to honor her music – especially her love of blues and her strong political stance. She passed away in April of 2003 and she has haunted me since.
My late father told me a story of being about 16 years old in Hollywood, I believe at the Formosa Cafe. This would have been in the early/mid 60s. Nina Simone was playing at a club and he snuck in to see her. He met her for a few seconds and she told him how adorable he was. He used to listen to her version “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” over and over, which the Animals covered a few years later. After my pops passed, I would listen to that song over and over too. It was soothing to my soul. She was incomparable and a complete bad-ass in everything she did.
Here are some of my favorite Nina tracks, starting with the aforementioned:
“Do I Move You?”
Here is Nina’s tribute to Langston Hughes with “Backlash Blues”:
Nina sings the Bob Dylan penned song “The Ballad of Hollis Brown”:
A perennial blues favorite, Nina Simone singing Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign”:
All hail the Queen. There are many Queens of music, but for Nina, I will bow down.