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The Nina Simone Database
Mississippi Goddam
1963 Nina Simone
When I heard about the bombing of the church in which the four little black girls were killed in Alabama, I shut myself up in a room and that song happened. Medgar Evers had been recently slain in Mississippi. At first I tried to make myself a gun. I gathered some materials. I was going to take one of them out, and I didn't care who it was. Then Andy, my husband at the time, said to me, 'Nina, you can't kill anyone. You are a musician. Do what you do.' When I sat down the whole song happened. I never stopped writing until the thing was finished.
-Nina Simone I Got Thunder

Unlike Simone's earlier work ... "Mississippi Goddam" was a political anthem. The lyrics were filled with anger and despair and stood in stark contrast to the fast-paced and rollicking rhythm. Over the course of several verses Simone vehemently rejected the notions that race relations could change gradually, that the South was unique in terms of discrimination, and that African Americans could or would patiently seek political rights. "Me and my people are just about due," she declared. Simone also challenged principles that are still strongly associated with liberal civil rights activism in that period, especially the viability of a beloved community of whites and blacks.
-Ruth Feldstein "I Don't Trust You Anymore": Nina Simone, Culture, and Black Activism in the 1960s

Nina wrote this song in response to the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi on 11 June 1963, and also to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed 4 black girls on 15 September 1963 (in the disturbances that followed, two more black people were killed).

Nina has also performed this song as medley with "Moon over Alabama". See
The song was also recorded by Esquerita in 1965 on LP Sock It to Me.

Recording sessions
1964 April 4-6: New York
standard studio version
The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it

Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can't you see it can't you feel it
It's all in the air
I can't stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

This is a show tune
But the show hasn't been written for it yet

Hound dogs on my trail
Schoolchildren sitting in jail
Black cat crossed my path
I think every day's gonna be my last
Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We're all gonna get it in due time

I don't belong here I don't belong there
I've even stopped believing in prayer
Don't tell me I tell you
Me and my people just about do
I've been there so I know
Keep on saying go slow

But that's just the trouble too slow
Washing the windows too slow
Picking the cotton too slow
You're just plain rotten too slow
Too damn lazy too slow
Thinking's crazy too slow

Where am I going
What am I doing
I don't know I don't know
Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
Cos everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

I bet you thought
I was kidding didn't you

Picket lines school boycots
They try to say it's a communist plot
All I want is equality
For my sister my brother my people and me

Yes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you'd stop calling me Sister Sady

Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You're all gonna die and die like flies
I don't trust you anymore
You keep on saying go slow go slow

But that's just the trouble too slow
Desegregation too slow
Mass participation too slow
Unification too slow
Do things gradually too slow
Will bring more tragedy too slow

Why don't you see it why don't you feel it
I don't know I don't know
You don't have to live next to me
Just give me my equality

And everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam
That's it

(Lyrics transcription by Roger Nupie)
short studio version with "beep"
Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi beep beep
1965 July 24-25: Antibes (FR) 6th Jazz á Juan Festival
1965 December 25: Loenersloot (NL) Mickery Theater
2008 [5:28] DVD 6 Live in '65 & '68 Reelin' in the Years 2.119014 (US)
1968 April 7: Westbury (US-NY) Music Fair
original unedited
1968 June: London (UK) Granada TV
2002 DVD 7 The Legend Quantum Leap QLDVD 0342 (UK) fragment
1977 December 4: London (UK) Theatre Royal Drury Lane
1980 July 18: Montreal (CA) Place Des Arts Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
Remember Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
Hejira Brown Quami Touré
Paul Robeson Lorraine Hansberry
1985 May 19: London (UK) Savoy Theatre
2002 DVD 13 A Nightingale Sang... Cascade 60008 (DE)
1985: USA Theatre tour
Alabama's got me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about
1987: Hollywood (US-CA) Vine Street Bar and Grill
Mississippi Goddam

Alabama's got me so upset
1987 [5:02] CD 11 Let It Be Me Verve 831 437-2 (US) bonus track
1988 May 6: Hamburg (DE) Fabrik
1988 September 20: Barcelona (ES) Mercat del Born
1989 October 23: Hamburg (DE) 14th Jazz Festival in der Fabrik
1990 April 10: Paris (FR) Olympia
1990 July 13: Montreux (CH) 24th Jazz Festival
1990 [4:50] CD 13 Madame Nina Simone TS RRC 019 (NL)
1992 May 13-16: Pointe-à-Pitre (GLP) Musiques créoles
1992 June 4: Reykjavik (IS) Háskólabíó Arts Festival
Unknown recording session
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