A gorgeous, inimitable singer and songwriter, Nina Simone (1933-2003) changed the face of both music and race relations in America. She struck a chord with bluesy jazz ballads like "Put a Little Sugar in My Bowl" and powerful protest songs such as "Mississippi Goddam" and "To Be Young, G...more
I've always been drawn to Nina Simone's soulful voice and her powerful lyrics in such songs as "Young, Gifted and Black" and "Ain't Got No..."I felt a little apprehensive about reading her biography because I guess it's human nature for people to idealize their heroes, and to think of them as flawless human beings.
The story begins with the background of her c ...more
The accidental star, the reluctant creator of something new under the sun of popular music, something no one else did before or since (because not only did no one else think of it, if they'd thought of it they wouldn't have been able to do it, she wasn't jazz, wasn't soul, wasn't cabaret but all of that and everything else), at the age of 60 produced this short account of her strange life in such a way that even the crazy stuff sounds reasonable, and whi ...more
What this book lacks are detailed descriptions of her production, concerts, collaborations, covers and songwriting. Nina only ...more
And so, determined to someh ...more
Now, I must admit that there were a few scenes where I rolled my eyes, particularly when she speaks of not knowing anyth ...more
Until our younger son gave me a mixed CD that included Simone’s “Lilac Wine,” I had unaccountably not heard of her. I immediately fell in love with her voice, her passion and emotion, her intensity and commitment, her wry humor.
I Put a Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone, written with Stephen Cleary, is a slim volume. At 176 pages, can Simone effectively tell her s ...more
This is a remarkable book that Nina Simone has written of her life. Up to now, I knew little about her - and I only ever had a single (though representative) recording of her singular artistry.
The book breaks down into 4 sections. She begins, naturally, with her upbringing, which - though certainly not easy - is not one of considerable turmoil. ...more
The entire book shows her reacting to one situation after the other, even when she is held up as a ke ...more
Nina takes us from her childhood growing up during the Depression in North Carolina where she trained as a classical pianist with lessons funded by her community. After attending Juilliard on scholarship having been rejected by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, she's employed as a nightclub entertainer, singing and accompanying herself whi ...more
Maybe this is a lesson in itself. Because Nina Simone sounds like an angel (albeit a feisty one) doesn't mean that she was one. If her autobiography doesn't m ...more
Therefore, I can't give this book anything less than 5 stars.
I'm biased. I admit it. Don't care. I love Nina.
If you're also a fan, read it. If you're not a fan, read it (and, honestly, who are you?). If you're interested in the civil rights movement, read it. She led a fascinating and complicated life and there's no better way of learning about it than from her own wor ...more
She becomes entitled and indignant if people didn't treat her as a diva, even though she states she didn't want any recognition. '...the ...more
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Although she disliked being categorized, Simone is generally classified as a jazz musician. Simone originally aspired to become a classical pianist, but her work covers an eclectic variety of musical styles besides he ...more