Love Me Or Leave Me – 1960

Nina Simone

The singer-pianist digs into a swing standard in her own way

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Nina Simone (1933-2003) is perhaps best remembered for her social activism and anti-racism songs, but she started out as a classical pianist and a top-notch jazz player who was most frequently heard in a trio.

She was starting to gain recognition at the time she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1960.

Nina Simone’s version of the early standard “Love Me Or Leave Me” (originally made famous by Ruth Etting) features her effectively simplifying the melody in her vocals and then adding some classical-inspired variations during her swinging piano solo. She reinvents the song a bit while preserving its essence.

-Scott Yanow


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