In 1969, former schoolteacher Roberta Flack recorded "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" along with the rest of her debut tracks in First Take.
Despite the splendor of the album, First Take didn't sell and remained underground for three years - until one day, movie star Clint Eastwood discovered the song while driving down an LA freeway and knew the song was perfect for his movie.
To soundtrack a blissful, intimate love scene in his 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me, Eastwood chose Flack's version of "The First Time Ever Saw Your Face," which Flack had elongated and elegantly transformed into a tender ballad.
The song was originally a folk number, written by British singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl during his affair with Peggy Seeger, whom he eventually married.
"I [was] in my house in Virginia," Flack reminisced on the life-changing moment Eastwood first reached out. "My mom was living with me at the time. The phone [rang] and she [said] “Roberta, it’s Clint Eastwood.” I thought somebody was playing a joke."
While Play Misty for Me became a watershed moment in Eastwood's Hollywood career, the film would launch Flack and her warm, blissful rendition of the tune into the mainstream spotlight. Three years after its release, Flack's dreamy and definitive version of the ballad charted at No. 1 on April 1972 for six weeks, until it became Billboard's No. 1 hit of 1972.