Killing Me Softly with His Song

"Killing Me Softly with His Song" is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel. The lyrics were written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman after she was inspired by a Don McLean performance in late 1971. Lieberman released her version of the song in 1972, but it did not chart. In 1973 it became a number-one hit in the United States, Australia and Canada for Roberta Flack, also reaching number six in the UK Singles Chart. In 1996, Fugees recorded the song with Lauryn Hill on lead vocals, their version became a number-one hit in twenty countries. The version by Flack won the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and the version by Fugees won the 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The song has been covered by many other artists. The versions by the Fugees and Roberta Flack were both placed on the 2021 revised list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

After decades of confirming Lieberman's contribution, Fox and Gimbel changed their story about the song's origins to downplay her role. Gimbel threatened McLean with a lawsuit in 2008, demanding he remove from his website an assertion that McLean was the inspiration for "Killing Me Softly," but McLean responded by showing Gimbel his own words confirming the inspiration, published in 1973.


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