Verve Records/UMe/Universal Music Canada releases You’ve Got To Learn, a previously-unreleased recording of the Nina Simone performance at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival. The album arrives as part of the “Happy Birthday Miss Simone” campaign, a year-long celebration of Simone’s 90th birthday. Listen to the album HERE.

You've Got To Learn by Nina Simone

You’ve Got To Learn is a major find for Simone’s fans.  The album includes Simone’s first-ever recording of “Music For Lovers” and “Blues For Mama,” as well as the only-known live recording of “You’ve Got To Learn.”  The historic six-song set also includes a straight “swinging” approach to “Mississippi Goddam,” Simone’s signature protest anthem, that is unique to this recording—it’s the only known version of Nina playing the song in this way.

On July 2, 1966, the Newport Jazz Festival witnessed a legendary set by Simone that has remained etched in the memory of Nina fans and music aficionados alike for over half a century. Simone historian Nadine Cohodas brought the tapes of the set, which were donated to the Library of Congress by Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein, to the attention of Verve Records and the Simone trust.

Simone adapts the lyrics of “Mississippi Goddam” to include a mention of Watts, CA, where riots had erupted in the previous year. She had only recently headlined the “Stars Salute the Mississippi March” in Jackson, MS along with Sammy Davis, Jr. and James Brown. Watch the visualizer for “Mississippi Goddam” HERE.

Liner notes for the album are provided by Shana L. Redmond, a respected scholar and author who has written extensively on Simone’s life and legacy. Redmond’s notes provide a valuable context for the Newport performance and offer a helpful explainer of the historical significance of Simone’s music.

The “Happy Birthday, Miss Simone” campaign allows listeners to experience Simone’s work like never before. Simone’s entire UMG catalog is now available to stream in Dolby Atmos spatial audio; a Mastercut Edition of I Put a Spell on You is now available, in a very limited run. In August, Verve/UMe’s vinyl reissues series, Acoustic Sounds, will celebrate Simone’s 90th with an audiophile grade pressing of her 1966 studio album, Wild Is The Wind. In October, all seven of Simone’s 1960’s Philips albums will be brought together in one LP collection: Four Women: The Nina Simone Complete Recordings 1964-1967 includes the seven albums Simone recorded for the Philips label between 1964 and 1967.

For more information about the “Happy Birthday, Miss Simone” campaign, visit

You’ve Got To Learn

  1. You’ve Got To Learn
  2. I Loves You, Porgy
  3. Blues For Mama
  4. Be My Husband
  5. Mississippi Goddam
  6. Music For Lovers

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