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The Nina Simone Database
1964 Waring Cuney, Nina Simone
At Nina Simone's last Washington DC performance--in May 2000, three years before her death--she took time out to perform a song called "No Images," delivering a captivating a capella performance. Simone prefaced its arrival by stating that the song was for the West Indian servant women who had come to toil in America but who would never know their true beauty in such an oppressive society. Its familiar concluding words--"But there are no palm trees/On the Streets/And dishwater gives back no images"--rang true throughout DAR Constitution Hall that night.

Nina Simone had begun performing "No Images" at her concerts in the 1960s. One of the first times the song was included in her show was at New York City's prestigious Carnegie Hall in May 1964. But "No Images" is not really a song. It is a poem set to music--a poem written in 1926 by Washington D.C.'s William Waring Cuney (or as he has been known over the years, Waring Cuney, 1906-1976). Cuney was an obscure poet then as he is now, but "No Images" was soon to become part of Simone's repertoire.

Yet "No Images" had a reputation long before Simone made it part of her show. It is one of the most anthologized poems in the history of 20th century African-American literature because it is economical and full of poignant, yet subtle, imagery (no pun intended). Young poets like myself gravitated to such a simple comment on life in America for persons of color.
-Brian Gilmore on Beltway

Recording sessions
1964 March 21: New York Carnegie Hall unaccompanied vocal
She does not know her beauty,
She thinks her brown glory
She thinks her brown body has no glory
1965 July 24-25: Antibes (FR) 6th Jazz á Juan Festival
1990 July 13: Montreux (CH) 24th Jazz Festival
1990 [3:39] CD 6 Madame Nina Simone TS RRC 019 (NL) listed as She Would Know
1990 July 22: Köln (DE) One World Music Festival
1992 May 13-16: Pointe-à-Pitre (GLP) Musiques créoles
1992 June 4: Reykjavik (IS) Háskólabíó Arts Festival
2000 April 13-14: São Paulo (BR) Via Funchal