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I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone
     

I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone

4.0 1
by Nina Simone, Stephen Cleary (With)
 

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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, Gifted, and Black," the anthem of the American Civil Rights movement. Coinciding

Overview

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, Gifted, and Black," the anthem of the American Civil Rights movement. Coinciding with the re-release of her famous Philips Recordings, here are the reflections of the "High Priestess of Soul" on her own life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Lincoln Center Institute Resource Center blog, 7/9/09
“Compelling, honest, and powerful. It is meticulously packed with historical information on America during some of its ugliest times, coming from the voice of someone who lived through it everyday…a voice of a woman who devoted her adult life to changing the face of society…From a musical standpoint alone, I Put a Spell On You is an extremely valuable read. However, this would also be a unique, relevant and worthwhile addition to any high-school or collegiate history library, or anyone with an interest in the civil rights movement both politically and artistically.”
Rolling Stone
As emotive as her music...it skillfully weaves the personal with the political.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Simone grew up during the Depression in a small North Carolina town where, thanks to a farsighted music teacher and caring neighbors who paid for her lessons, she was trained as a classical pianist. After attending Juilliard on a scholarship she was rejected by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (a setback she attributes to the fact that she is black), and she became a nightclub entertainer, singing and accompanying herself on the piano and, with her skillful improvisations of popular songs in classical style, quickly becoming a star. In the 1960s she joined the civil rights movement and became well known as a protest singer. Then, in the 1970s and '80s, disillusioned with the U.S., she went into self-imposed exile in Africa and Europe. Unfortunately, written with freelancer Cleary, her account of these later years, in which she concentrates on personal problems and a number of tiresome love affairs, lacks the interest of the early part of the book, which describes her unusual childhood and remarkable rise to fame. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Well-written life of singer-pianist Simone, as notable for its clear, strong voice as for its events, which are pretty strong too. Despite some wild moments, Simone's is a life to be proud of and she tells it modestly but with an emotional accuracy of recall that makes her book stand out from other celebrity lives. Born Eunice Waymon and raised in South and North Carolina, Simone was the sixth child of a preacher mother. Early seen as a child prodigy of the piano, she practiced five hours a day for decades, intent on becoming the first black concert pianist. But after a year at Juilliard and despite her gifts, she was turned down by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia—she thinks for being black. To make a living, she took a job in a Philadelphia dive, playing and singing for drunks. She played classical/folk/pop, giving huge, sweeping interpretations of pieces like "I Loves You, Porgy" that could last three hours. Recording dates followed. Her marriages were duds, the second being to a cop with a Jekyll/Hyde personality, who became her manager and landed her in deep water with the IRS. Meeting playwright Lorraine Hansberry led Simone into civil-rights activity. She was hit hard by the deaths of Hansberry, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, underwent some kind of mental breakdown, lost her home to the IRS, fled to Europe, and later, with Miriam Makeba, to Liberia. Liberia was paradise and, after a mad evening spent dancing stark-naked in a club for two hours, she was pursued by black millionaires. Trouble followed her, and she later wound up in Barbados as the mistress of the P.M. A failed suicide attempt was eventually followed by resolution of her tax problems anda comeback. Simone captures each person in her life with silverpoint outlines and never shies from baring the truth. A gripping life that rings true. (Sixteen b&w photographs—not seen.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306813276
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
08/14/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
164,541
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Lincoln Center Institute Resource Center blog, 7/9/09
“Compelling, honest, and powerful. It is meticulously packed with historical information on America during some of its ugliest times, coming from the voice of someone who lived through it everyday…a voice of a woman who devoted her adult life to changing the face of society…From a musical standpoint alone, I Put a Spell On You is an extremely valuable read. However, this would also be a unique, relevant and worthwhile addition to any high-school or collegiate history library, or anyone with an interest in the civil rights movement both politically and artistically.”

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I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed learning more about Nina Simone...her highs and lows of life. This is a wonderful book, a way to learn about the voice behind the music! I felt so much compassion for her...I was grateful to get a peek at her soul. Great Book!