Skip to main content

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live In Concert

Airs Friday, July 10, 2015 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and...

Credit: Courtesy of PBS

Above: Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook.

Throughout her four-decade career, music superstar Annie Lennox has defied categorization, diving into blues, soul, folk and pop to create songs that captivate and transcend boundaries.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Robert Sebree

Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Robert Sebree

Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Robert Sebree

Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Robert Sebree

Music superstar Annie Lennox performs some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook.

In her latest album "Nostalgia," Lennox has revealed yet another dimension to her formidable talent. Although jazz is not the genre for which she is best known, she could no longer resist the magnetic pull of some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook. "Nostalgia," the singer’s seventh solo album, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

And with the GREAT PERFORMANCES special, "Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live In Concert," the singer’s unique interpretations bring a new intimacy to these timeless classics. In the 60-minute concert – which was taped at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January – Lennox performs songs from the "Nostalgia" album like “Summertime,” “Strange Fruit,” “I Cover the Waterfront” and “God Bless the Child.”

The special features Lennox’s fresh takes on iconic American compositions by such artists as Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as she pays tribute to some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, interpreting compositions that have moved her, stripping them down to their emotional and musical core and making them her own, demonstrating how these songs continue to resonate even amid the complexities of modern life.

On the album, Lennox approached each song as if she had never heard it before, boiling each down to its bare essence. Working together with co-producer Mike Stevens, Lennox started with keyboards and added instrumentation sparingly such as the lacerating guitar solo in the middle of “Screaming” Jay Hawkins’ torrid “I Put a Spell on You.” The orchestrations are used on the special.

Her complete song listing includes "Memphis in June," "Georgia on My Mind," "I Put a Spell on You," "Summertime," "I Cover the Waterfront," "Strange Fruit," "God Bless the Child," "September in the Rain," "The Nearness of You" and "Mood Indigo." Encores include "Here Comes the Rain Again" and "Why."

"Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live In Concert," was directed by Natalie Johns. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Annie Lennox is on Facebook, and you can follow @AnnieLennox on Twitter.

Past episodes of GREAT PERFORMANCES are available for online viewing. GREAT PERFORMANCES is on Facebook, and you can follow @GPerfPBS on Twitter.

GREAT PERFORMANCES is funded by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Rosalind P. Walter, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, and PBS.

Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert

The concert of her Grammy-nominated album features Lennox’s takes on iconic American compositions by such artists as Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as she pays tribute to some of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

Annie Lennox: Nostalgia in Concert - "I Put a Spell on You"

Annie Lennox sings "I Put a Spell on You" in her live concert of her Grammy-nominated album Nostalgia. Her performance of the song at the 2015 Grammy Awards was one of the most talked about highlights of that broadcast. The song was originally written and recorded in 1956 by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Lennox's version also opens the film "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert - "Summertime"

George Gershwin composed "Summertime" for his opera Porgy and Bess (1935). The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based. Billie Holiday recorded the song in 1936 and it quickly became a frequently covered jazz standard. Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert airs on PBS on April 3, 2015 at 10 pm (check local listings).

Annie Lennox: Nostalgia in Concert - "Mood Indigo"

"Mood Indigo" is a jazz standard composed in 1930 by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard, who played with Ellington's band for 15 years. The lyrics are by Irving Mills. Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert airs on PBS on April 3, 2015 at 10 pm (check local listings).

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.