‘I Put a Spell On You’ was written and originally recorded by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956.
Nine years later, Nina Simone recorded her version and had a minor hit on the R&B charts with it. The song was the lead-off track on an album also titled I Put a Spell On You — an album notable for also including the classic ‘Feeling Good.’
This song inspired John Lennon’s contribution to the Beatles hit ‘Michelle’: “I had been listening to Nina Simone – I think it was ‘I Put A Spell On You’. There was a line in it that went: ‘I love you, I love you.’ That’s what made me think of the middle eight for ‘Michelle’: ‘I love you, I love you, I l-o-ove you.'”
Nina Simone’s 1964 civil rights anthem ‘Mississippi Goddamn’ was released on an album of live recordings from Carnegie Hall. Simone reportedly wrote the song in just an hour, inspired by the deaths of Medgar Evers in Mississippi and the four black children murdered in an Alabama church bombing.
‘Sinnerman’ is one of Nina Simone’s most famous songs. She turned the traditional Negro spiritual, which she had no doubt heard in her mother’s church as a little girl, into a sprawling 10-minute jazz piano epic.
Simone’s version has been sampled in modern rap songs and used in many TV shows and movies, including both the original 1968 Thomas Crown Affair and the 1999 remake. It’s easy to see why. The pulsating rhythm and raw emotional power of the track are irresistible.
The timing is good for my father’s Nina Simone theme week because it happens to coincide with my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!
For today’s SOTD, I chose Simone’s most famous love song, ‘I Loves You Porgy’ from the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess. She initially recorded the song for her 1958 debut album, Little Girl Blue, though today’s version is a live performance from 1960.
My father recently sent me a link to today’s SOTD accompanied by a single statment: “for your consideration.” Well, I can’t say no to my dad!
I replied that, given Ms. Simone’s stature and the almost complete absence of her songs on my blog, a theme week might be in order. He agreed, and promptly fired off four more potential song choices.
One of those was his favorite, ‘Feeling Good,’ which was written about here by guest blogger Madison as the accompaniment to a scene from the show Legion.
[Guest blogger Madison continues her look at the best use of music in 2017 television shows]
My favorite new show of 2017 is Marvel’s Legion, which allowed creator Noah Hawley to blast into creative overdrive to create something artistic and unique within the Marvel Universe.
For this superhero loving lady, Legion was just one of quite a few boundary pushing shows and films featuring characters from the Marvel Universe (Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor Ragnarok, The Gifted, and Runaways stand out as highlights).