When speaking about the greatest vocalist of all time, Nina Simone is always a part of the conversation and for good reason, as her voice is undeniably iconic. So we thought with it being 17 years to the day since she unfortunately left us, that we would pay respect to her magnificence by visiting an isolated vocals version of her classic ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’.
The track originally featured on her 1964 record Broadway-Blues-Ballads, the melody and chorus came to Horace Ott after a brief falling out with his girlfriend (and wife-to-be), Gloria Caldwell which Simone would then bring to life.
Her vocal range is on full show in this stunning isolated vocal performance. which exemplifies precisely why Simone is held in such high regard among her contemporaries. One modern-day artist who drew inspiration from the track is Lana Del Rey, who went as far to cover the song on her 2015 Honeymoon album and also covered Simone’s ‘The Other Women’ on Ultraviolence.
In a 2015 interview with NME, Del Rey spoke about her decision to cover the track and the similarities between her and Simone: love the song I covered and I love the song I covered of hers [‘The Other Woman’] on the last record… I’m drawn to her melodies and words. Personality-wise, we’re quite different. We may have had some of the same issues, but I picked that song just because it resonated with me.”
The Animals famously had wild success with the track which would make the charts all around the world and is revered but vocally the two tracks couldn’t be more different with Simone’s reigning supreme. Their frontman Eric Burdon would later say of the song: “It was never considered pop material, but it somehow got passed on to us and we fell in love with it immediately.”
Enjoy the astonishing perfection of Simone’s vocals in full, below.