BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #271: ” THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE”- ROBERTA FLACK – APRIL 15, 1972

Roberta-Flack-The-First-Time-Ever-I-Saw-Your-Face

Billboard #1 Hits: #271: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”- Roberta Flack. April 15, 1972. #1 for 6 weeks in Billboard Hot 100.

  • Single:” The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”- Roberta Flack
  • Record Company- Atlantic
  • Genre: Soul
  • Written by Evan MacColl
  • Time: 5:22
  • B-side: “Trade Winds
  • Album-First Take
  • Grade: A
  • Peaked at #1 6 weeks in Billboard Hot 100. #14 in UK Singles Chart, #1 in Australia and Canada.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was written back in 1957 as a folk song by Evan MacColl for Peggy Seeger. At the time MacColl and Seeger were lovers but MacColl was still married to his second wife. MacColl and Seeger would later be married.

The song became a huge hit in the hands of Roberta Flack- who went on not only to have a #1 hit with it but also won Grammy Awards for Record Of The Year and Song of the Year. It was also the #1 single on the Billboard charts for the entire year of 1972.

There were many covers made of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and MacColl reportedly hated them all- but I am sure he loved cashing in all the royalties he got from the Roberta Flack version. His daughter-in-law would write-“He hated all of them. He had a special section in his record collection for them, entitled ‘The Chamber of Horrors’. He said that the Elvis version was like Romeo at the bottom of the Post Office Tower singing up to Juliet. And the other versions, he thought, were travesties: bludgeoning, histrionic, and lacking in grace.”

Roberta Flack had recorded it on her album First Take in 1969 but it wasn’t until Clint Eastwood included it in his movie Play Misty For Me- that the song took off- becoming Flack’s first Top 40 single. She would have 3 #1 hits in her career- “Killing Me Softly With His Song” in 1973 and “Feel Like Makin’ Love” in 1974.

4 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #271: ” THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE”- ROBERTA FLACK – APRIL 15, 1972

  1. Dam “Chamber of Horrors” is pretty strong! I wonder exactly what he wanted? Flack did a great job of it I thought. I never heard Elvis’s version.

  2. I remember the “first time…… ever hearing this song….” and being forced to stop whatever I was doing and listen, really listen to it. I remember reading somewhere that there is a certain level of disrespect to good music when it is used as background to what you’re doing. In many cases I agree. This song is one of them. The passion is in every word and pause and cry. It’s been so long since seeing, “Play Misty for Me” that I forgot this was in it. I laugh at the songwriter’s “Chamber of Horrors” — hey, when you release your baby into the world, you never know what somebody might do to it!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s