February 1973: Roberta Flack Hits No. 1 with "Killing Me Softly With His Song"

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Roberta Flack first heard "Killing Me Softly With His Song" on an in-flight radio audio program. Immediately falling in love with the song and its title, Flack changed up the arrangement with flair, transforming the folksy tune into a soft, magical soul-jazz number.

READ MORE: February 1969: Roberta Flack Records "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"

Inspired by a Don McLean show at L.A.'s Troubadour, folk singer Lori Lieberman shared her original idea for what would become "Killing Me Softly With His Song" with songwriters Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. When Flack discovered Lieberman's recording on an airplane, she "absolutely freaked."

One night at the Los Angeles' Greek Theater, Flack opened for the gifted legend Marvin Gaye with her cover of the song. Promptly recognizing the song's deep potential, Gaye urgently instructed Flack to record her version.  

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Stream Unreleased Roberta Flack Track "Groove Me"

Released as the title track to her landmark 1973 album Killing Me Softly, Flack's recording for Atlantic Records went to No. 1 for five weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 in February 1973. 

The brooding, bluesy hit also won two Grammys, including Song of the Year in 1974, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Since Flack has covered the song, hundreds of other artists have recorded the number, most notably The Fugees in 1996, which juxtaposes poignant lyrics with a stripped down hip hop beat. 

BONUS:

All our dreams came true during the 1996 MTV Awards when the Fugees and Roberta Flack perform "Killing Me Softly With His Song" together. 

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