Happy Birthday, Ms. Simone…

The year before I was born, Nina Simone covered one of the greatest songs ever written. Billie Holiday first performed STRANGE FRUIT in 1939. Written by a teacher by the name of Abel Meeropol as a poem, STRANGE FRUIT is a song about the lynching of African Americans in the South. Holiday did a beautiful recording of the song, but SIMONE OWNED it. The melancholy in her voice as she sings those terrible words in such a beautiful way is enough to make a rock break down and cry. It’s an important song. Simone’s voice bleeds tragic through its words. You can find her recording of STRANGE FRUIT on the album Pastel Blues. Simone recorded many, many tunes…but this one…this one will always be her signature piece for me. Before I heard it, I had no idea one could live and die with a song. Simone would be 80 years-old today.

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Lady.


Today is a NINA SIMONE kind of day…

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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