Friday Night Music, August 7: Roberta Flack, “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” 1974

Aretha Franklin had competition come the late Sixties and early Seventies, with Dusty Springfield on one hand and Roberta Flack on the other.

Flack was coming from D.C., and from Howard University, where she had developed her own understated but lovely style. She was discovered by jazz pianist Les McCann, who helped her get a contract at Atlantic. However, Flack’s work went nowhere at Atlantic Records until Clint Eastwood used her song, “The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)” for his love scene in the film, Play Misty for Me That song, and Flack, took off into the musical stratosphere.

The same named album, Killing Me Softly, won the 1974 Grammy for Best Record. The music and lyrics were written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. It was Flack’s fifth album.

Flack is well-known for her musical collaborations with the late Donny Hathaway (who was at work with Flack in New York at the time of his suicide) and with Peabo Bryson and Maxi Priest. Nowadays, you can hear her on adult contemporary or Quiet Storm-influenced stations. At 72, she is active in an organization that assists other singers and musicians in retaining the rights to their musical output.

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~ by blksista on August 7, 2009.

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