Nina Simone’s Most Beautifully Sad Songs

Today would have been the great Nina Simone’s 80th birthday, and we’ve had her music on the stereo all morning here at Flavorpill central. In the spirit of commemorating her life and career, we thought we’d share some of the sounds we’ve been listening to. Simone was a singer able to capture many moods, of course — her range encompassed everything from the jittery portentousness of “Sinnerman” to the bruised, bleary-eyed optimism of “Feeling Good.” But we’ll be honest: we like the sad songs best. We always do.

“Plain Gold Ring”

We’ll start with a track that is a genuine contender for the coveted Saddest Song Ever Recorded prize: “Plain Gold Ring,” a mournful ballad about loving a man who’s married to another woman. Somehow it’s the fact that it’s a plain gold ring is the saddest thing of all. Nick Cave did a pretty great cover of this, by the way.