The High Priestess of Soul herself. Nina Simone The High Priestess of Soul herself. Though her specialty was jazz, Nina absorbed blues, soul, R&B and even pop into her eclectic and unique style. She was a gifted piano player and a distinct vocal talent. She was socially conscious and politically radical at a time when it really mattered. She recorded the definitive versions of other people’s songs, and debuted songs that other artists would take to great heights later. She’s certainly one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop, which is as good a piece of evidence as any that her influence is still massive. She’s incomparable. Recommended Listen: Nina Simone Sings the Blues Crash Course: 1. Nina Simone Sings the Blues 2. High Priestess of Soul 3. I Put a Spell on You Compilation Replacement: Anthology Signature Songs: 1. “I Loves You Porgy” 2. “Don’t You Pay Them No Mind” 3. “In the Dark” 4. “Sinnerman” 5. “Mississipi Goddamn” Personal Note: Nina is such a complex and multifaceted artist that it was almost impossible to really encapsulate everything she could do, or rank her different eras. As such, this is definitely more weighted toward my personal opinions than usual, just because it was the only way to make head or tails. She has plenty of staple early live albums that could have been in the crash course, or her later records which are beloved and have a cult following now but weren’t her best-reviewed. I also left out plenty of staple songs of hers because I just couldn’t live without having “In the Dark” and “Don’t You Pay Them No Mind” on that list. So please, explore beyond what’s here. Do a little research (allmusic.com is always a good resource) and follow any thread that appeals to you. You really can’t go wrong.