Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

First performance: 23/03/1988


Bruce performed this song only once:
1988-03-23 Omni (The), Atlanta, GA 
At a rehearsal in Atlanta on the Tunnel of Love Tour, Bruce and the E Street Band soundchecked "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood," with the Miami Horns joining Danny Federici on organ.  


"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is a song written by Bennie Benjamin, Horace Ott and Sol Marcus for the jazz singer and pianist Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" has been covered by many artists, most notably by The Animals, whose blues rock version of the song became a transatlantic hit in 1965. The beginnings of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" came with composer and arranger Horace Ott, who came up with the melody and chorus lyric line after a temporary falling out with his girlfriend (and wife-to-be), Gloria Caldwell. He then brought it to writing partners Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus to complete. However, when it came time for songwriting credits, rules of the time prevented BMI writers (Ott) from officially collaborating with ASCAP members (the other two), so Ott instead listed Caldwell's name on the credits. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was one of five songs involving the writing of Benjamin and Marcus, presented for Nina Simone's 1964 album Broadway-Blues-Ballads. There, it is taken at a very slow tempo and arranged around harp and other orchestral elements; a backing choir appears at several points. Simone sings it in her typically difficult-to-categorize style. Horace Ott's involvement did not end with his initial songwriting; he was the arranger and orchestral conductor for the entire album. Backed with "A Monster", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" was released as a single in 1964, but failed to chart. To some writers, this version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" carried the subtext of the Civil Rights Movement, that concerned much of Simone's work of the time; while to others, this was more personal, and was the song, and phrase, that best exemplified Simone's career and life. 
The Animals version ( Bruce's inspiration ) 

The Animals' lead singer Eric Burdon would later say of the song, "It was never considered pop material, but it somehow got passed on to us and we fell in love with it immediately." The Animals sped up the tempo and made prominent use of a guitar and organ riff that was picked out and expanded from an element that originally appeared in the Simone recording's outro. The song was recorded in November 1964. The group gained a trans-Atlantic hit in early 1965 from their rendition. 

Bruce on the artist

Bruce and Little Steven shared their mutual appreciation of The Animals on an episode of Little Steven’s Underground Garage:
Listen here
Bruce makes his debut appearance on Steve van Zandt's Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show. The interview was broadcast in three parts on April 1, 8 and 15 on over 200 terrestrial FM radio stations across the United States. More an informal, spontaneous chat between friends than an interview, the show was recorded some time in March at Van Zandt's office studio at Renegade Nation in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and celebrates the ninth anniversary of Underground Garage. Topics included in the show are wide ranging, but primarily cover Bruce and Steve's musical influences between 1963 and 1969. They initially talk about Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bruce learning how to play his first guitar, "Twist And Shout", The Animals (Bruce plays his guitar to demonstrate the similarity between "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Prove It All Night" and "Badlands"), The Kinks and The Yardbirds. Discussing guitar playing, Bruce brings up Teddy Spelios, who was in a group called The Source and could play like Jeff Beck. He was able to produce a sound that Bruce was unable to match, until he purchased a guitar from an ex-marine with a long neck and no strings that was able to produce "the first distortion on the shore," and he was finally able to replicate the sound of "Sunshine Of Your Love". It wasn't until some time later that he found out it was actually a bass guitar. They then talk about Bob Dylan, the British Invasion, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. They discuss Them, and how Bruce (with The Castiles) performed their show-stopper "Mystic Eyes" at a Battle Of The Bands contest in 1966. Click the date/location link above for a full transcript of the interview.
During the  'keynote speech'
"Badlands," "Prove It All Night," Darkness On The Edge of Town was filled with, with The Animals. ...Youngsters, watch this one. I'm gonna tell you how it's done, right now. I took "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," (Singing and strumming beginning of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood": 

Danta, danta, danta, dah.
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.
Danta, danta, danta, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.
(Singing melody of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" while strumming chords of "Badlands":
Dah, dah, danta, tadah.
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.
Danta, danta, danta, dah.
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.
It's the same fucking riff, man.Listen up, listen up, youngsters, this is how successful theft is accomplished 


Baby, you understand me now?
If sometimes you see that I'm mad
Don'tcha know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong, you see some bad
But oh, I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
You know sometimes, baby I'm so carefree
Oh, with a joy that's hard to hide
And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you're bound to see my other side
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
If I seem edgy
I want you to know
I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems
And I get more than my share
But that's me one thing I never mean to do
'Cause I love you
Oh, baby, I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?
Sometimes I find myself alone regretting some little foolish thing
Some simple thing that I've done
'Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Don't let me be misunderstood
I try so hard so please don't let me be misunderstood
No, no, no, please