Thursday, June 7, 2012

In The 1970s Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack was born in 1937 in the U.S., and during her teenage years she was a very accomplished classical piano player. She later excelled at school and went on to be a teacher in Washington D.D., where she also taught private piano lessons and performed in clubs at the weekends.

In 1968 she was discovered and started to make albums. Her first being First Take that went to No. 1 in the U.S.which had The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face which would later become a huge hit in the 1970s, in part thanks to Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me in 1971.

Roberta released several singles in 1970, but all failed to make an impact, although her album Chapter Two made some U.S. charts.


1971 she release Quiet Fire a R&B hit, but she did score a top thirty U.S. hit with  a duet with Don Hathaway with You've Got A Friend.

But it was 1972 when Roberta had her break through period in the 1970s after releasing the single The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face. As mentioned it was because of the song being played in Clint Eastwood's film Play Misty For Me. It was Clint who chose this song for the film.

The song was originally written in 1957 by British Ewan McColl (died in 1989), he wrote the song for his young lover and soon to be wife Peggy Seeger. There had been several versions of this record to chart before Roberta, including the 1962 version by The Kingston Trio.

Roberta's version was NO. 1 nearly everywhere (UK NO. 14) and she won the Grammy in 1972 for the best record of that year.


       

1973, and in some territories 1972 she had another big hit with Don Hathaway with Where Is The Love, that just crept into the top thirty in the UK. This won yet another Grammy award with best duo with vocals for 1972. The album Roberta Flack & Don Hathaway went gold too.


    

1973 would see Roberta have a huge worldwide hit again with the beautiful Killing Me Softly With His Song. The song was  written by Norman Grimble and was originally recorded by Don Maclean. But it was the album version from Lori Lieberman that Roberta heard, and that inspired her to make a version of the song. This became yet another Grammy award winner for Roberta.


The follow up single Jesse failed to inspire, and the single after that  was No 1 in the U.S. and Canada but did nothing ion most of Europe.

1975,1976 were very baron with no single hits. But The Closer I Get To You again with Don Hathaway made the  top three in the U.S. and Canada, but only reaching No. 42 in the UK.


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