Tuesday, July 20, 2010

JDIZZY's 365 # 72: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack (1972)

Some songs stand up to multiple covers without ever losing their power. Artists as varied as George Michael, Gordon Lightfoot and Johnny Cash have all turned in magnificent versions of Ewan MacColl's love ballad to his wife, Peggy Seeger. But none, including the songwriters, have come close to Ms. Flack's soul-chilling take. It is one of the finest moments in recorded music history, stretching out longer than the original, basking in the glow of the love it is describing. In a time when rock and roll was becoming more and more genre-fied, it spoke to all walks of life, all tastes in sound, and became a universal anthem. It still fulfills that feeling. Play it for a loved one and watch them melt into your arms! Unless your loved on happens to be Mr. MacColl. He hated Roberta's version, which goes to show that there is an exception to every rule, and that even poets can be idiots.

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