I only discovered Nina Simone in 2002 when her glorious live rendition of “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” was featured on the soundtrack of The Dancer Upstairs, an excellent movie (John Malkovich’s directoral debut) starring Javier Bardem. She died a year later from breast cancer. The “High Priestess of Soul” was a Civil Rights Movement icon whose music spanned classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop genres. Ms. Simone was inducted posthumously, last month, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
So many of Nina Simone’s most well know songs like “To Be Young Gifted and Black” and “Mississippi Goddamn” are larger than life, high energy anthems.
But amoung my favorites are her quieter pieces, like this rendition of “Little Girl Blue,” where the deep ache in her voice offers your heart the chance to come undone.
She is the only performer, no longer with us, I wish I had had the chance to see perform live.