Ain’t Got No, I got Life (1968) – Nina Simone

Ain’t Got No, I got Life is my favourite song from Nina Simone and it also includes my favourite performance of her at the end of this post. I’ve listened to and watched this performance at least 50 times. It gives me chills every time I see it.

Ain’t Got No, I got Life is a 1968 single from Nina’s album ‘Nuff Said. According to wikipediaThe song peaked at number 2 in the UK and at number 1 in the Netherlands. It also charted on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached number 94. The song helped Simone gain popularity under a new, younger audience, and became a standard in her repertoire….In 2010, research conducted by PRS for Music revealed that the song was the second most performed in UK television advertising due to its use in Müller yoghurt adverts. “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life” was included in the book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before you Die.

To demonstrate just how well regarded Nina Simone was amongst her peers, below are recollections from Bob Dylan and Nick Cave respectively. Nick Cave’s account of Nina in the two short videos below I consider almost compulsory viewing for any music enthusiast. It’s a blast!

Nina Simone. I used to cross paths with her in New York City in the Village Gate nightclub. She was an artist I definitely looked up to. She recorded some of my songs that she learned directly from me, sitting in a dressing room. She was an overwhelming artist, piano player and singer. Very strong woman, very outspoken and dynamite to see perform. That she was recording my songs validated everything that I was about. Nina was the kind of artist that I loved and admired.
Bob Dylan (Musicares Person of the Year 2015 Award)

And now for Nick Cave’s take on his experience opening for Nina…

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Matthew Kick

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