Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LADIES FIRST: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood!"

LADIES FIRST wants to clear up any misunderstandings.

In today's installment of "she did it first", here is NINA SIMONE with the original version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". The song was written especially for her to record.

While it is a metaphor about emotional relationships, her vaunted activism gives it a broader social context. I responded to that by making this video:

NINA SIMONE -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1964)

THE ANIMALS released their international hit version the following year, making it a staple in many garage bands' set lists. It was propelled by the distinctive vocal of Eric Burdon, the guitar figure by Hilton Valentine, and organ harmony of Alan Price.

THE ANIMALS -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1965)

In the late 70's it took on epic dance dimensions by the disco group SANTA ESMERALDA. This version gained new street cred when its instrumental break was used in the film, "KILL BILL, vol. 1" (2004).

SANTA ESMERALDA -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1977)

The "KILL BILL" soundtrack included the Santa Esmeralda track as well as Nancy Sinatra's cover of "Bang Bang". Perhaps taking their cue from this, here is STRANGEFRUIT combining the guitar sound of Nancy's song along with Nina's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood":

STRANGEFRUIT -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (2009)

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