21 April 2003
A soul whose intentions are good
Fiery singer Nina Simone, a classically-trained pianist who perhaps found her greatest fame as an American civil-rights icon the searing "Mississippi Goddam" ("and I mean every word of it"), written in 1963 in response to the bombing of an Alabama church, is only the beginning died today at her home in France. She was seventy years old.
Simone's influence far exceeded her meager chart placings (only one Top 40 hit): her 1959 recording of "I Loves You, Porgy" is definitive, and she inspired artists as disparate as Aretha Franklin, who covered Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" to stunning effect in 1972, and the Animals, who pounced on her 1964 single of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and turned it into a British Invasion smash.
(Dear Page: Thank you for passing this on.)