What Happened, Miss Simone? by Alan Light

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Inspired by the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist.  From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor-in-chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential...

Details What Happened, Miss Simone?

TitleWhat Happened, Miss Simone?
Release DateFeb 9th, 2016
PublisherCrown Archetype
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction, Audiobook, Biography Memoir, Cultural, African American

Reviews What Happened, Miss Simone?

  • Jaidee
    5 "the way musical biography was meant to be" stars !!! 6th Favorite Read of 2017 (tie) Before we begin...I NEED you to listen to the genius of Nina Simone. I heard this in Sicily in an old hotel when I was 21 with a Russian girlfriend that I adored. She put this on one night and I was so shaken and moved by the misunderstood jazz singer that I could not do anything but be amazed, drink Marsala and hold my girl's hand while tears streamed down m...
  • Rebecca McNutt
    What Happened, Miss Simone? is an incredible story of resilience, music and fighting for what you believe in. It's an amazing story and I loved it.
  • Ashley
    I got this in the mail and thought wow I know this looks familiar... I then realized the Documentary!! Wow I was so happy to see this!! It's a goodreads giveaway and I am so happy to have gotten this!!! (I got this copy in pretty bad shape... cover bent completely over,pages crunched, back cover TORN OFF... but i am very happy for the opportunity to read this......)I'm going to pass it on to everyone I can... GREAT BOOK!!!!This is the story of Mr...
  • Laura
    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:Inspired by the Oscar-nominated TV documentary, Alan Light's biography draws on Nina Simone's early diaries, rare interviews, childhood journals and input from her daughter Lisa Simone Kelly to paint a picture of the classically-trained pianist who became a soul legend, a leading civil rights activist and one of the most influential artists of our time.Episode One"I was born a child prodigy darling. I was born ...
  • Gretchen
    What Happened, Miss Simone? What a great title for a book that tells a heartbreaking story of a fantastic singer. Alan Light writes the biography of Nina Simone taking the reader from Miss Simone's hardscrabble childhood through her musical talent and genius to the end of her sad life. Such talent must have made it very difficult for her to adjust to the everyday workings of life. Maybe that is why she seemed unable to fit into her own skin nor t...
  • Beatriz Fernandes
    I recommend reading this before you watch the documentary with the same title. Despite being written after and because of that film - the director asked the author if he was interested in writing it - it has, naturally more information, which makes easier to understand the movie (that has one or two moments when the facts are not chronologicaly); also, the documentary will play as a resume of what you just read. I do recommend both because they g...
  • Bettie☯
    BOTWhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08gwsjbDescription: Inspired by the Oscar-nominated TV documentary, Alan Light's biography draws on Nina Simone's early diaries, rare interviews, childhood journals and input from her daughter Lisa Simone Kelly to paint a picture of the classically-trained pianist who became a soul legend, a leading civil rights activist and one of the most influential artists of our time.Music journalist Alan Light is the aut...
  • Malcolm Marshall
    I can't remember exactly when I first heard a Nina Simone record, but it was some time in the early 1980s. It could have been in a nightclub or played on friend's record player. Being pre-internet we had no idea who she was or anything about her life. It was only when a someone told me that I realised that she was playing the piano as well as singing - the extent of her genius really hit home. There's a line in 'One Day' that says something like ...
  • Don Gorman
    (2) Nina Simone is an important part of music history. She was renowned for her unruly personality as much as her amazing talent. This book does and does not explain a lot of that. Her family background and life history makes for a reasonable story, but some of it does feel very strange to today's reader. The abuse she endured, from the outside and self inflicted , is overwhelming, and her actions at time were unjustifiable. Her involvement in th...
  • Karen
    This was really interesting and it didn't sugarcoat anything. The writing itself was a little on the dry side but I'm looking forward to watching the documentary.
  • Jeff Howells
    I'm not one for hero worship, but Nina Simone is definitely one of the few who I hold above everyone else. She's my favourite female singer by a country mile and she is responsible for my favourite ever song (the one I would take, above all others, to a desert island). Yet strangely her legacy has not been treated well: there are a plethora of greatest hits knocking around but it's not easy to get hold of the albums she released in her lifetime. ...
  • Amanda
    I wish I had realized that Nina Simone had written her own memoir. I would've chosen to read it first. This biography is very thoroughly researched and includes many interviews from people who knew Simone and were close to her, and it did give me a pretty good overview of Simone's life. The author, Alan Light, though, is incapable of understanding the nuance of Simone's civil rights work or her sexuality. Light fails to comprehend (and therefore ...
  • Darren
    I've been a Nina fan for about half my life, the highlight of that capped early when I saw her in concert in 1998. I knew very little about her reputation, her history and her life. When she died I learnt a bit more through the obits. This book told me stuff I really had no idea about, particularly her struggles with mental health problems that made her at turns violent, paranoid, mean and needy. It can't have been easy to be around her.Nina Simo...
  • Jennifer
    This was a frustrating biography to read. The author, Alan Light had access to all of Miss Simone's diaries and correspondence and the cooperation of the family...but this led to him only interviewing a handful of people (presumably) okay-ed by the family. So it was the same five voices over and over and little from outside sources and indeed no third-party research. I read a lot of biographies so I guess I have higher standards than most and thi...
  • Kim
    A quick read that gives the reader a fairly good idea of Nina Simone’s life. There are probably more detailed biographies out there, but for what it is, it’s a decent read - it never hovers on any particular part in depth. Packed with first hand accounts - interviews, letters - it serves as what I felt to be a well rounded account of not only Nina Simone, but those in her life. What honestly really struck me the most about the book was how it...
  • Jani
    That Nina Simone was a powerful artist is surety to anyone who has listened to her music with any concentrations. Alan Light biography tells an unflinching story of the artist behind the music.Nina Simone was a special talent, but also an especially difficult person to those whose lives he touched. Based on interviews, diaries and journals Alan Light's biography tracks her life from childhood to stardom to later troubled life. It does not steer a...
  • Matt Medeiros
    Very nicely researched biography to accompany the documentary of the same title. Light uses a wide variety of sources, including interviews with Simone's family and musical collaborators, and the artist's diaries, to depict the many sides of her life. While the last decades of her life were often quite dark, the book is a quick enough read that one doesn't feel too mired in the mental health challenges of her later life
  • Sarah
    Wow! Time well spent. Glad to have met Miss Simone.
  • Jonny Andres
    I love Nina Simone.
  • Laura
    A fascinating (and clearly well researched) insight into the life and times of the volatile, yet always compelling, Nina Simone.
  • Ralph
    Probably as close as anyone will get to writing a definitive biography of Nina Simone and certainly more reliable than her autobiography.
  • Suzanne
    "I was born a child prodigy, darling. I was born a genius." Humility was something that Nina Simone never worried about. From the time she began playing for her mother's church services, she had an instinctive grasp of what it took to sway a crowd. She started with the piano at home, but the community soon became involved and that led to more opportunities as she found instructors and supporters. After being passed over for a scholarship to study...
  • Matt
    What do you know about Nina Simone? For my admiration of her and her music, I didn’t know all that much, and thought a book like this would be informative. Yes, this is a beginning to end biography, but feels like a series of events strung together, without any deep analysis. “What Happened, Miss Simone?” covers her tumultuous life, if brushing lightly over some heavy, serious incidents. I think this is a fair depiction of the woman, not en...
  • Lola
    I received a copy of What Happened, Miss Simone? through Goodreads' First Reads in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit that I didn't really know who Nina Simone was before I received this biography. I knew she was an African American singer, and I was familiar with one of her songs, Blackbird, from the recent movie Beyond the Lights. I had heard talk of the Academy Award nominated documentary of the same way, but I hadn't watched it. I...
  • Gini
    Nina Simone. For some nothing more needs to be said. For others, like me, this biography opens the way to the part of life we missed somewhere along the way. If you came of age in the 1960’s you might have missed a significant person of interest, Eunice Kathleen Waymon, otherwise known as Nina Simone. Light follows her life from her humble beginnings to her final moments in his biography which the cover says was inspired by “the acclaimed Net...
  • Susan Marie
    Written by Alan Light, this book was inspired by the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, about the legendary life of Nina Simone, who was first a classically trained pianist and evolved into a chart-topping civil rights activist.I preferred the documentary to the book. While the book is good, one cannot possibly capture the magnetic presence of Miss Simone merely in pages.The biographical film directed by Liz ...
  • Tony Nielsen
    Nina Simone was a formidable talent, if not for her race as an African American there's little doubt she would have become a notable concert pianist, given her precocious talent at the piano. Instead she had to make her way by transforming her skills towards other genres, including blues, ballads, jazz and pop. Nina was also painfully aware that it was her race which had inhibited her career, and ruled out the pathway which she believed she was o...
  • Rachel Czech
    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway- thank you! My unedited copy arrived perfectly unharmed in the mail, too!Enjoyable read about Nina Simone's wild life. I found myself circling quite a few quotes that struck me about how Nina felt about creating music; as a musician myself I often felt she was preaching to the choir!I highly recommend reading this book with access to all of Nina's music- personally, I found all but a couple songs menti...
  • (a)lyss(a)
    "Though it doesn't put you down in any way...it simply ignores you. For my people need all the inspiration and love that they can get."I received a copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review.The book comes to around 3.5 stars for me. I haven't watched the documentary that inspired this book but I'll certainly check it out now.This book delves into the life of Nina Simone, although not as in depth as expected. Thi...