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
Number of pages320 pages
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction, Biography Memoir, Adult, Race

Reviews What Happened, Miss Simone?

  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Suz
    "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...
  • Ginib
    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...
  • Betty
    Like the documentary, but more: specifically, more excerpts from Simone's letters and diaries, more interview material from her daughter and longtime guitarist Al Schackman (who comes off well in the doc and continues to seem like an awesome guy here), more detailing of Simone's erratic behavior toward the end of her career and life. Some of this feels voyeuristic and a bit cruel; putting a woman who is clearly suffering mental illness under the ...
  • Graham
    Frequent readers of musical biographies will note the lack of depth reached by the biographer. He does not present much detail on technical musical aspects the discerning listener will invariably be on the lookout for. Compared to "The Life and Times of Thelonious Monk" this biography falls far short of accounting for why Simone is rightfully considered a genius. This biography is rather a study of Simone's psychological condition more than anyth...
  • Don Heiman
    Alan Light's 2016 biography "What Happened Miss Simone?" Is a well documented and engaging writing about an iconic musical genius who captured in lyrics and musical rhythm the historic civil and social rights movement of the 1960's and 70's. Nina Simone's compositions and performance is testament to her belief that exceptional artists reflect the situations of the times in which they live. Her roller coaster life and mental health does not dimini...
  • Damon Brandt
    I am not sure how I missed knowing anything about Nina Simone. Growing up after the 60's, I was not exposed to any of her music or her support of the civil rights movement. A child prodigy in classical piano, she migrated to jazz to try to make a living. As with many prodigies, her greatness in music is offset by a troubled mind, troubled relationships and a troubled existence with herself. A great musical prodigy that should be known by all.
  • Kathleen O'Nan
    Based on the research that was done for the Academy Award-nominated Netflix documentary of the same name, this goes into much more detail about Nina Simone's life than the film could. A life both tragic and uplifting, it made me appreciate this luminous figure even more than I already did. I highly recommend it.
  • Vivian Adram
    Damn this was a good book. I already loved Nina Simone's music and heard a little bit about her. But this really tops it and gives you a peek into the world of Ms.Simone. It's seems like 'no holds barred' and that's the way it should be - given Ms Simone's ways.. love the iconic person even more now!
    I won this uncorrected proof in a Goodreads Giveaway.This is the devastating story of a devastating talent. All true, all sad...Recommended for fans of music, psychology, and/or history.
  • Michael
    A short but honest account of Nina's life. Highly readable and entertaining, while Nina's presence comes alive from the pages.
  • Susan
    I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads. Really loved this book. Such an amazing look into an incredible woman.
  • Renee
    Very interesting and probably challenging to research. She sounded quite erratic and unpredictable later in life. A case of mental illness causing brilliance and struggle...
  • Erica L
    Fragmented read and as I understand it the book was written AFTER the documentary came out. This is the first book I read that was NOT as good as the movie. Skip it.
  • Michelle Olms
    Great book
  • Hanz
    Interesting insights into a great artist's life.