Love Is In The Air: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
February 15, 2020
Month-long celebration of Love featuring Love Songs from the 70’s.
You are more than welcome to join in the fun, all you need to do is include a link to your post in the comments so that everyone can visit. The more the merrier :) Your songs do not need to be from the 70’s, but they do need to be Love Songs.
Alright! Let’s get this party started! Fill up those waterbeds, break out the black lights and disco balls and let’s have some fun!
The song for today -
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
Wikipedia tells us about this song:
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is a 1957 folk song written by British political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, who later became his wife. At the time, the couple were lovers, although MacColl was still married to Joan Littlewood. Seeger sang the song when the duo performed in folk clubs around Britain. During the 1960s, it was recorded by various folk singers and became a major international hit for Roberta Flack in 1972, winning Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Billboard ranked it as the number one Hot 100 single of the year for 1972.
Flack knew the song from the Joe & Eddie version which appeared on that folk duo's 1963 album Coast to Coast (as "The First Time"), Flack's friend singer Donal Leace having brought the track to Flack's attention. Having taught the song to the young girls in the glee club at Banneker High School (Washington D.C.), Flack would regularly perform "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in her set-list at the Pennsylvania Avenue club Mr Henry's where Flack was hired as resident singer in 1968. In February 1969 Flack would record the song for her debut album First Take, her rendition of which was much slower paced than Seeger's original, Flack's take running more than twice the two and a half minute length of Seeger's. Flack would recall that while she made her studio recording of "The First Time..." she felt the loss of her pet cat, Flack having two days earlier returned home to Washington D. C. from Detroit (where she had played her first non-local engagement) to find that her cat had been run over and died.
Flack's slow and sensual version was used by Clint Eastwood in his 1971 directorial film debut: Play Misty for Me to score a love scene featuring Eastwood and actress Donna Mills. Flack would recall how Eastwood, who had heard her version of "The First Time..." on his car radio while driving down the LA Freeway, phoned out of the blue to her Alexandria (Virginia) home: (Roberta Flack quote:)"[Eastwood said:] 'I'd like to use your song in this movie...about a disc jockey [with] a lot of music in it. I'd use it in the only part of the movie where there's absolute love.' I said okay. We discussed the money.[Eastwood would pay $2000 to use Flack's "The First Time..."] He said: 'Anything else?' And I said: 'I want to do it over again. It's too slow.' He said: "No, its not.'"
Flack in fact has also recalled that during the First Take sessions her producer Joel Dorn had suggested re-recording "The First Time..." with a slightly speeded tempo and lyric edit to trim its running time but Flack had not then been agreeable: (Roberta Flack quote:)"Joel said: 'Okay you don’t care if it's a hit or not?' I said: 'No sir.' Of course he was right for three years, until [after] Clint got it" - as the attention Flack's "The First Time..." garnered ensuant to the November 1971 release of Play Misty For Me did persuade Atlantic Records to issue the track as a single - trimmed by a minute - in February 1972: the track became a smash hit single in the United States, reaching No. 1 for six weeks on both the Billboard Hot 100 and easy listening charts in the spring of 1972, with a No. 4 R&B chart peak. Reaching No. 14 on the UK Singles Chart, Flack's "The First Time..." was No. 1 for three weeks on the singles chart in Canada's RPM magazine.
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was played as the wake-up music on flight day 9 to the astronauts aboard Apollo 17, on their last day in Lunar orbit (Friday, 12/15/1972) before returning to earth, thus ending the first manned explorations of the Moon. The use of the song was most likely a reference to the "face" of the moon below the spacecraft.
Won’t you join me in this fun month-long theme? Again, all you need to do is post your link in the comments.