♫ Killing Me Softly With His Song ♫

I typically prepare these music posts just before going to bed, when my resources are at their lowest, emotions a bit on edge from the news of the day, and so I seem to come up with ‘sappy’ songs more often than not.  Tonight is no exception.

This was written by the songwriting team of Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, and first recorded by Lori Lieberman in 1972. Gimbel and Fox also wrote the theme songs to the TV shows Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. They are the only credited songwriters on “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” but Lori Leiberman has claimed authorship. A press release put out on Lieberman’s behalf states: “Lieberman to this day is never given credit for lyrics and her version.”  Lieberman also claims that Don McLean of American Pie fame was the inspiration for the song, but Charles Fox denies it.

Roberta Flack heard Lieberman’s version on an in-flight tape recorder while flying from Los Angeles to New York. She loved the title and lyrics and decided to record it herself. In an interview with The New Musical Express, Flack said: “I was flicking through the in-flight magazine to see if they’d done an article on me. After realizing they hadn’t, I saw this picture of a little girl called Lori Lieberman. I’d never heard of her before so I read it with interest to see what she had that I didn’t.” Flack decided to record the song but felt it wasn’t complete, so on arriving in New York she went into the studio and started experimenting. She changed the chord structure and ended the song with a major rather than minor chord. Flack worked on the song in the studio for 3 months, playing around with various chord structures until she got it just right.  In my opinion, she succeeded.

This song won Grammys in 1974 for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal. Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” won Record of the Year the previous year, making her the first artist to win the award 2 consecutive years.  While I far prefer Roberta Flack’s version to any others, the song was recorded in 1996 by a group called the Fugees, and it was their version that hit the #1 spot in the UK in ’96.  I listened to their version tonight, and admit it is damned good … almost as good as Roberta’s.  They wanted to change the lyrics and make it a song about poverty and drug abuse in the inner city with the title “Killing Him Softly,” but Gimbel and Fox refused.  Thankfully.

Killing Me Softly with His Song
Roberta Flack

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song

I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style
And so I came to see him, to listen for a while
And there he was, this young boy, a stranger to my eyes

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song

I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd
I felt he’d found my letters and read each one out loud
I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly

Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly, with his words

Songwriters: Norman GImbel / Charles Fox
Killing Me Softly with His Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

6 thoughts on “♫ Killing Me Softly With His Song ♫

  1. Great song, although I prefer the Fugees version. I am glad they were not allowed to change the lyrics and meaning. I’ve never been in a seedy lounge bar, but this song instantly transports me to a dark, smoky bar. This is one of those songs that invokes an emotional, depressing and beautiful visual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I listened to the Fugees version, and I did like it, but not as well as Flack’s, for I am a Motown fan. I have been in seedy bars, though not for the past few decades 😉 and you are quite right … smoke-filled lounges … the ‘good ol’ days’ 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jack!!! Haven’t seen you for a bit … is everything okay? You doing okay? I haven’t forgotten my promise to email … just been having a hectic life or late and not been very chatty. Sigh. Hugs, dear Jack!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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