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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Nina Simone Sings Songs Of The 1960s

Singer Nina Simone took songs of the counterculture and made them her own.

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Nina Simone 1960s

Photo: CD cover art

Just like Simone: the singer's art boldly reflected the times in which it was made.

Nina Simone came up as a jazz singer in the late 1950s, but throughout the 1960s she displayed the wide range of style and repertoire that are now the trademark of her legacy, blending blues, soul, folk, and pop into her unique artistry. As Ben Edmonds points out in the liner notes to this week’s featured CD Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Songs of the 1960s, Simone could have easily been describing herself when she said of Maria Callas,

She was tempestuous. She was a complete one-of-a-kind, and she studied her music more than anyone else in her generation. She could make the rules and break them whenever she pleased, and the world would listen…

In the late 1960s Simone fearlessly embraced the work of many young songwriters who were changing the course of popular music. We’ll hear her takes on songs by the Bee Gees, folk songstress Sandy Denny, and a well-known hit by the Beatles. Kurt Elling, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Julie London, are some of the other usual Afterglow suspects featured on this program as well.

Watch Nina Simone in 1969 performing a medley of two songs from the musical Hair:

For more of Nina Simone from this period, check out the Night Lights program Here Comes the Sun: Nina Simone on RCA.

Music Heard On This Episode

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Nina Simone — Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the 60s (Sony Legacy, 2007)
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Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Nina Simone — Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the 60s (Sony Legacy, 2007)
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Detour Ahead
Kurt Elling — Flirting With Twilight (Blue Note, 2001)
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My Foolish Heart
Carol Sloane — Love You Madly (Contemporary, 1991)
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When Lights Are Low
Miles Davis — Prestige Profiles (Prestige, 2005)
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Stars Fell on Alabama
Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong — Ella and Louis (Polygram, 2000)
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The Way You Look Tonight
Nat King Cole — Riffin': the Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings (Hip-O Select, 2010)
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Teach Me Tonight
Sarah Vaughan/Joe Williams — Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan (Blue Note, 1996)
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All Alone (midpoint music bed)
Red Garland — The Nearness of You (OJC, 1999)
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What'll I Do
Frank Sinatra — All Alone (Reprise, 1962)
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No Need for Words
Sean Jones — No Need for Words (Mack Avenue, 2011)
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Love On the Rocks
Julie London — Love On the Rocks (EMI Europe, 2006)
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Here Comes the Sun
Nina Simone — Just Like a Woman: Sings Classic Songs of the 60s (Sony Legacy, 2007)
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Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Nina Simone — Just Like a Woman: Sings Classic Songs of the 60s (Sony Legacy, 2007)
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To Love Somebody
Nina Simone — Just Like a Woman: Sings Classic Songs of the 60s (Sony Legacy, 2007)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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