Song of the Day Feb 20

February 20, 2024

This month I’m focusing on Love Songs from the 70s.

Today our song is:  Killing Me Softly With His Song

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

"Killing Me Softly with His Song" is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel. The lyrics were written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman after she was inspired by a Don McLean performance in late 1971. Denied writing credit by Fox and Gimbel, Lieberman released her version of the song in 1972, but it did not chart. The song has been covered by many other artists.

In 1973, it became a number-one hit in the United States, Australia and Canada for Roberta Flack, and also reached number six on the UK Singles Chart. In 1996, Fugees recorded the song with Lauryn Hill on lead vocals. Their version became a number-one hit in twenty countries; including Germany, where it became the first single to debut atop the chart. The version by Flack won the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The version by Fugees won the 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Propelled by the success of the Fugees track, the 1972 recording by Roberta Flack was remixed in 1996 by Jonathan Peters, with Flack adding some new vocal flourishes; this version topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Since then, Flack and Fugees have performed the song together. The versions by Fugees and Roberta Flack were both placed on the 2021 revised list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. According to Billboard, it is one of nearly a dozen songs to be Grammy nominated for Song of the Year that have had two versions reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After decades of confirming Lieberman's contribution, Fox and Gimbel changed their story about the song's origins to downplay her role. Gimbel threatened McLean with a lawsuit in 2008, demanding he remove from his website an assertion that McLean was the inspiration for "Killing Me Softly", but McLean responded by showing Gimbel the latter's own words confirming the inspiration, published in 1973.



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