S2-E14 Killing me softly

Pour ce 14e épisode, nous allons voir comment chanter « mourir doucement » remporta par deux fois des Grammy Awards.

S2-E14 Killing me softly (with his song)

You can find a summary in English below.

La version des Fugues est là
Celle de Roberta Flack est ici
La version originale de Lori Liberman est par là

For my Friends who don’t speak French a summary in English. I hope it can help to follow what I say :

For this 14th episode, we’ll see how singing « Die Slowly » won two Grammy Awards.

Sample of  the cover (Fugees 1996)

The Fugees are a hip-hop group from Brooklyn, formed in the 1990s by three African Americans. Two men: Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel and a female singer Lauryn Hill. You may have seen this singer in the movie Sister Art 2, which we already talked about in episode 12 on “Oh Happy Day”.

« Killing Me Softly » is featured on their second album, The Score. An album that will mark the history of music. With The Score, the career of the Fugees, the abbreviation of refugees, « the refugees », reaches new heights, going far beyond the sphere of HipHop. The originality of the Fugees, as opposed to gangsta-rap, was, I quote, to « give back to the ghetto a voice that does not glorify violence. » The Fugees want to change the lyrics of « Killing Me Softly » to denounce drugs and poverty. But the writers refuse, so the Fugees will keep the original text while adding rap verses. This cover became a monument of hip-hop of the 1990s, and was consecrated by the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance in 1997.

Prior to the Fugees’ version, it was Roberta Flack’s 1973 version that was successful.

Sample of  Roberta Flack

Legend has it that Roberta heard « Killing me softly » during an airline flight. Immediately seduced by the song, it was Quincy Jones who put her in contact with the authors. She sings the song in the first part of Marvin Gaye, who advises her to record it on disc without further delay. Roberta Flack’s single « Killing Me Softly with His Song » stays at the top of the charts for months in all musical genres. And in 1974, Roberta won 3 Grammy Awards: best album, best song and best singer of the year!

Let’s imagine for a moment being with Roberta on board the L.A. – NY flight and discover the original version.

Sample of  the original version Lori Lieberman 1972

It is the singer Lori Lieberman who is at the origin of the song. She says she was inspired by the song « Empty Chairs » by Don McLean, which she had heard during a concert in 1971. When she returned home, she felt a great emptiness, a sudden blues, thinking back to the rather sad lyrics. of the American singer.

And I wonder if you know / That I never understood

That although you said you’d go / Until you did, I never thought you would

Very moved by this text, she had the idea of immortalizing in a song the ability of music to touch people and move them. She asks lyricist Norman Gimbel to help her refine the text and find a composer. Initially the text was « Killing Me Softly With His Blues », which they transform into « with his song » for more universality. The disc was released in 1972. The authors were convinced of its potential, but success was not forthcoming. The title is very little diffused, except in a plane connecting the WEST coast to the EAST coast of the United States with on board, a certain Roberta who will take off (ahahahah) the title and take it to posterity .

Before slipping Roberta’s voice in your ears, see you soon for a new episode of Ils Ont Repris Ma Chanson.