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Remembering Nina Simone


Nina Simone (1935-2003), the "High Priestess of Soul" in the 1960s, was always difficult to classify into a particular musical style: soul, blues, jazz, protest -- all of the above and none of them; she was a classical pianist, as well. Her anger at America, expressed in "Mississippi Goddam," eased in her later years, but she continued to live outside the country where she'd encountered injustice.

1. Nina Simone: Live at Ronnie Scotts

Re-released after her April, 2003, death, this video of a live appearance by Nina Simone was originally released in the 1980s.
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2. Eclectic Collection

This boxed set was issued in February, 2003, shortly before Nina Simone's death, and is a wonderful summary of Nina Simone's musical career
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3. I Put a Spell on You: Autobiography of Nina Simone

Written with Stephen Cleary. In 1993, Nina Simone published her biography, detailing much about the struggles in her life (sometimes from her own bad decisions), her early life, her goal to become the first black concert pianist, her eclectic career, her troubles with husbands and the IRS, her mental breakdown, and her comeback.
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4. Bittersweet: The Very Best of Nina Simone

Remastered recordings from 1957-1971 include "Mississippi Goddam" and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." If you like her current work, this album's a good one to explore her earlier style.
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5. Nina Simone: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Written by Richard Williams, this biography (part of the "Mojo Heroes Series") was not yet released at the time of Simone's 2003 death, thus bringing her story of a tough and troubled life nearly to its end. Reviews mention the black and white photos gracing the book.
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6. Tribute to Billie Holiday

Nina Simone's jazz side comes out in this video -- the soul diva honors the ultimate jazz diva.
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