*Lauryn Hill and Andra Day each contributed musical salutes to Nina Simone at her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in a touching medley that included the legend’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” “I Put a Spell on You,” “Feeling Good” and more.
The induction ceremony was held in Cleveland on Saturday, with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Cars, The Moody Blues, Dire Straits and Bon Jovi joining Simone among the 2018 Rock Hall inductees.
HBO will air the entire ceremony beginning Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. ET.
The Roots served as the backing band for Simone’s tribute, while Mary J. Blige – who was once slated to portray her in a biopic – did the honors of formally inducting the late jazz, blues and R&B singer.
Simone has been eligible to join the Rock Hall since 1986, but received her first nomination only this year. She died in 2003 at her home in France after a battle with breast cancer.
Day began the medley with an uplifting rendition of the hopeful Civil Rights Movement anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” which Simone recorded in 1967. She then pivoted to strike a very different tone with “I Put a Spell on You,” a maniacal Screamin’ Jay Hawkins track that Simone made her own hit in 1969. Day was backed by the Roots, with guitarist Captain Kirk ratcheting up the tension during “I Put a Spell on You” with an incendiary solo.
Hill handled the second half of the performance, tackling the devastating ballad “Ne Me Quitte Pas” before putting a contemporary spin on the old folk song “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” with some nimble rapping. Hill finished with an electrifying rendition of “Feeling Good,” ending the Simone tribute on a hopeful note: “It’s a new dawn/ It’s a new day/ It’s a new life for me.”