Celebrate Nina Simone’s birthday with a sensational performance of ‘Ain’t Got No’ from 1968
Today, February 21, would have been the late, great Dr. Nina Simone’s birthday so we thought, to celebrate, we’d take a little trip down memory lane and revisit a London performance of one of her highest-charting records ever ‘Ain’t Got No, I Got Life’.
Aside from being a civil rights activist, a prolific album creator (over 40 LPs), and an icon of music, Simone was, above all else, a fantastic performer. This is a scintillating performance which sees Simone at her best delivering with power and passion every single note. Feeling every word as she goes.
The song was originally written for 1960s counterculture musical Hair and encompasses a full range of emotions. When released it came in on the UK charts and landed straight in at the number two spot, a position which represents one of her highest achievements ever on the chart.
So, to celebrate her birthday, we thought we’d take a look at this wonderful performance of the track on the David Frost Show. With Simone in the prime of her life, the version is an undeniable powerhouse.
Precise and poignant, Simone delivers each note with the reserved energy of an athlete taking a jog across the park. The soul singer permeated every note she sang with a darkened steel that lent itself not only to powerful notes but powerful messages.
Take a look at the performance below and read the lyrics to ‘Ain’t Got No, I Got Life’ below that to truly understand the poignant poetic message behind Simone’s dynamic vocal.