“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone (1964)

The art of interpreting a lyric appears to have been lost in recent years. I’m all for mindless pop music, but…I feel like we’ve been down this road before.

Nina Simone was a master interpreter, and she totally inhabits her reading of  “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, as she should. The song was written for her. Up until about 30 seconds ago, I thought Eric Burdon penned “Misunderstood”, as his Animals had the best-known version of the song. I was incorrect! Nina was the first to record it. The first version I heard was the disco version recorded by Santa Esmerelda in the late ‘70s. Nina crawls all the way inside “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and inhabits it. It’s an amazing reading from an amazing, fascinating woman. I didn’t watch all of the What Happened, Miss Simone? documentary (I fell asleep…oops), but I did read Alan Light’s book of the same name last year, and it’s excellent.

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