Nina Simone (1976)
In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!
Nina Simone was one of the great female vocalists of the 20th Century. She was equally at home singing jazz, blues, soul, gospel or pure pop. Hugely prolific throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, she recorded only rarely in her later career, but remained a major live performer until well into the nineties when, becoming increasingly frail, she retired to France where she died in 2003 at the age of 70.
Nina Simone made four appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. This clip features a segment of the performance from 1976 as the main feature.
Nina Simone was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone.
When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman,” the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While thirty-three years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Nina’s uncompromising musical trademark.
By the end of her life, Nina was enjoying an unprecedented degree of recognition. Her music was enjoyed by the masses due to the CD revolution, discovery on the Internet, and exposure through movies and television. Nina had sold over one million CDs in the last decade of her life, making her a global catalog best-seller.