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

Single Cover Art
Photo Credit
Single Cover Art

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.  

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

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. 

RELATED: Roberta Flack To Sign First 500 Pre-Orders of 'First Take'

"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.  tune. Three years after it 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. 

Artist Name

Read More

(Michael Putland/Getty Images)
The history of Prince's #1 hit from 1986 is more complicated than you might realize.
article column overlay
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images
Mayfield victoriously gave his all in his final album with superhuman optimism, "Never forget that the life we live is oh so beautiful."
article column overlay
(Sony Music Archive via Getty Images/Terry Lott)
It's only appropriate that Sade would score the band's first US #1 on February 14, 1986. Happy Valentine's Day!
article column overlay

Facebook Comments