Saturday, August 1, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: KILLING ME SOFTLY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the August 1st, 2015, smack down of the Battle of the Bands. Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy provides us with this information about the bloghop:

The whole thing is really quite simple: You select two different versions of the same song (versions you feel might give each other some competition in the voting) and you post them on the 1st and the 15th of each month.

On the 7th and 21st of each month, you add your own personal vote to the mix, total up all the votes and announce the winner on your blog.

Beyond that, just try to have fun with it and let your readers/voters have fun with it.


I wonder if your voting on Killing Me Softly will be a case of choosing the version with which you grew up. 

For me, it was Roberta Flack, who sang her way to a number one hit in 1973. I heard at the time that the song was about Don McLean of American Pie fame, and no, I don't mean the movie. I also thought that Flack composed the song. 

I was wrong about that. Here's what Wikipedia has to say:

"'Killing Me Softly with His Song' is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel. The song was written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, who recorded the song in late 1971."

The song is meant to convey the strong reaction Lieberman had when she heard McLean sing. I won't include Lieberman's version here because it might confuse the issue. Let's go straight to the beloved Roberta Flack, who first sang the song live in 1972 when she opened for Marvin Gaye at The Greek Theater.

Flack's version won the 1973 Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

Here's your first option, Roberta Flack:



The song has been covered many times, most successfully in 1996 by by the hip hop group the Fugees, with Lauryn Hill singing the lead. It went to number two in the U.S., and number one in the United Kingdom.

Killing Me Softly was the Fugees' biggest hit. It was on their album, The Score, which won the 1997 Grammy for Best Rap Album. Killing Me Softly won Best R&B performance by a duo or group.

Here's your second option, the Fugees, featuring Lauryn Hill:




Please vote for your preferred version of Killing Me Softly in your comment, and I'll be back on August seventh to tell you the winner. If you express an opinion, but you are not voting, then please say so.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

58 comments:

  1. What a surprise! I too thought Roberta Flack wrote this and always considered it her song. Lauryn Hill has a good voice, but I have to give it to Ms. Flack. Such fluidity and timeless elegance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for voting! I like the way you explained your reason.

      Delete
  2. I have a very prejudiced vote for Roberta Flack. I was in Vegas where she performed it live. It was the only time I have ever seen the entire audience sit in stunned silence when a performer finished then get up as one to give a standing ovation!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is cool. Is there anyplace you haven't been? I bet you greeted the astronauts when they first arrived on the moon.

      Delete
  3. Roberta by a country mile for me. I found the Fungees version to be too distracting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had this exact battle on my list of 'potential battles', so I guess I'll be scratching this one off my list :) I, too, grew up listening to the Roberta Flack version and I remember when the Fugees version came out, and I was so angry that they messed with the song. But the more I listed to the Fugees version, the more I liked it over Roberta Flack. So my vote goes to the Fugees. Great battle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't see why you can't use it, too. Just wait a while. People have short memories, and your presentation will be different from mine.

      Delete
  5. Roberta wins this one, even though the changes were minimal with the Fugees, I did not enjoy it as much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roberta Flack makes everything she sings a classic.

      Delete
  6. Roberta Flack's killing me softly. Brings back many memories...

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a song that I didn't care for much when I first heard it, but it grew on me to the point where I really started liking it.

    When I first heard the Fugees do this I was rather impressed to the point where I bought the album. Now after listening to it again with the passing of several years since my last listening, it sounds kind of dated. For its genre it's pretty good, but it sounds too 90's now.

    On the other hand, Flack's version is timeless and beautiful.

    My vote goes to Roberta Flack.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello, Janie Junebug! Long time no see! How've ya been?

    You mentioned the movie American Pie. I will remind you and the other readers that there was an erotic thriller called Killing Me Softly that starred Heather Graham. Remember it?

    I grew up with the Roberta Flack version of the song and while I typically vote old school, I am not going to vote that way in this contest. Mrs. Shady #1 loved the Roberta Flack recording and it makes me sad to think about her and our failed marriage. I do not particularly like hip hop but, in this case, I am voting for Lauryn and the Fugees because their rendition doesn't have any baggage attached and because they do more with the song. I actually enjoyed it.

    Thank you, dear Janie, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Brad Pitt in a movie called Killing Me Softly. Favorite Young Man and I loved it. It's from 2012. I haven't seen the 2002 film with Heather Graham, but I think she's an excellent actress. Throw that baggage off the train. Your vote for the Fugees is counted.

      Delete
  9. Good picks for a battle! Both versions are loaded, aren't they? Roberta's is, as Arlee said above, timeless, certainly gorgeous, and gorgeously executed... But the Fugees do something with it that--I don't know. They gave this song a second life, a comeback if you will, a new coating that made it palatable for a whole different generation (and audience) but without destroying the original, like so many "modernizing" covers do. That's an achievement in my book. So although the original holds a special place, I'm voting for the Fugees. They took a risk, and they aced it. Kudos to them :)
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great explanation. Thank you. Your vote is counted.

      Delete
  10. Roberta Flack was divine singing this song. Vocal magic, dripping with emotion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, but it's not my favorite of hers.

      Delete
  11. JANIE ~
    I always liked the ROBERTA FLACK version, but I had no idea whatsoever that it had any sort of Don McLean connection. I love 'American Pie' and also 'Vincent'. I wonder which Don song inspired 'Killing Me Softly'. I'll have to look into that further. Very interesting background stuffs.

    I'd never heard the Fugees cover before, and I don't understand the point of all that background chatter and the silly sound effects. In my opinion, they just took a good song and "f#cked around with it".

    Bobette Flack gets my vote.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can look on Wikipedia for the name of the song that inspired the writing of Killing Me Softly. I didn't recognize the song. I adore Vincent and sing it frequently.

      Delete
  12. Yay! I love this song and both of the artists. It was on my possible battles list.

    In this case, I nearly love them equally. ... but I'm gonna give my vote to LAUREN HILL! Great battle.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yay! I love this song and both of the artists. It was on my possible battles list.

    In this case, I nearly love them equally. ... but I'm gonna give my vote to LAUREN HILL! Great battle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherdo, you can't vote for Lauryn twice by repeating your comment. At least change your name and pretend to be someone else.

      Delete
    2. Why does this happen? Ha ha ha. It's not the first time. Sometimes, I have double answers to my own commenters. Computers are evil.

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. She will be happy to know she has your vote.

      Delete
  15. This is one of the songs that i have heard so many times everywhere that I run (if I could run) screaming when I hear it.
    But you asked for a vote so I give it too Roberta Flack.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never felt tired of a Roberta Flack song, but I don't turn on the radio and don't listen to music often.

      Delete
  16. I know both so well and when the 2nd one comes on I feel they just committed a huge sin-I hate it and turn the station or turn it off. I love the Roberta Flack version-timeless and it is mainly her singing. The Fugees have all this rap and other crap and it sounds messy:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, all righty, then. Take that, Fugees.

      Delete
  17. Love the battle. Wonderful song and both versions are well done. My vote goes to Roberta Flack! Lauryn Hill and the Fugees do the song justice though!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The Fugees version is ok and I do like Lauren Hill's voice, but I love Roberta Flack's version so she would get my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't even have to listen to these two since it was on my own list of potential battles in the future. My vote easily goes to Robert Flack. I don't care for that "one time, two time" business that The Fugues added. Of course, I still think that a good cover changes it up a bit (and they did do that). I just didn't care for the change all that much. So, chalk another one for Miss Flack.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Roberta Flack. She's the one I've always heard, and I still like her best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a Roberta Flack fan, but I thought it was interesting when the Fugees covered the song.

      Delete
  21. Great battle! For me, this is a very easy vote for Roberta Flack. Her version is just a classic. She made this song all her own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She did indeed. Thanks for joining us.

      Delete
  22. Lauryn Hill!! I've always had a soft spot for her since I grew up listening to her. She really is a talented woman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember when I found out that she played the teenager with the great voice in Sister Act 2. She sings beautifully.

      Delete
  23. I grew up with the Roberta Flack version, but I must admit, I prefer the Fugees.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, hands down, it's Roberta Flack for my vote. That song brings back so many memories and I love her voice. The Fugees version was okay and they did a good job with it. I'm just committed to Roberta's version. Good battle!
    Michele at Angels Bark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Roberta said to tell you she appreciates your vote.

      Delete
  25. Unfortunately, you are right in my case. It's going to be the version I grew up with. I like the Robert Flack version and the Fugees song has always irritated me for some reason.
    Vote Flack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roberta's version came out when I was in high school. I was excited when I learned it was about Don McLean because I loved my American Pie album.

      Delete
  26. My vote's for Roberta Flack. The Fugees is just a bit too hip hop for me, while Flack has such a soulful sounding voice.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Janie, I grew up with Roberta Flack, but was willing to give the new group a chance until the RAP kicked in and that did it for me. Roberta Flack steals my vote. Thanks for the memories and fun. :D

    ReplyDelete
  28. I also have to vote for Roberta Flack. I did listen to The Fugees version several times and have heard if often recently. I even tried to expand my mind to a different sound. I was fine with the rap and the beat, but there was this very strange guitar riff that seemed out of place with everything. It seemed to random for the rest of the song, then again, what do I know? I'm old.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would have voted for Roberta Flack just because it doesn't have Wyclef inexplicably saying "one time" out of nowhere, but then I read the part about how Flack supposedly wrote the song about Don McLean's American Pie. I hate the song American Pie so much that it tips my vote to the silky smooth voice of tax-dodging Lauren Hill. One vote for the Fugees. And several uncounted votes against American Pie in whatever contest it may find itself in. "Drove my Chevy to the levy"????? That's just lame lyricism.

    ReplyDelete

Got your panties in a bunch? Dig 'em out, get comfortable, and let's chat.