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Long before The Fugees made their cover of “Killing Me Softly With His Song” one of the inescapable hits of the 1990s, the song was a favorite among popular artists looking for a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Even Roberta Flack’s iconic version, which spent five weeks at No. 1 in 1973, was a cover. The song was first recorded in 1971 and released in 1972 by singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman. But it was Flack who made it the pop-culture staple it is today. In the years following her recording of “Killing Me Softly,” artists across the radio dial from Perry Como to Stevie Wonder took a shot at that one-of-a-kind melody.
Forty-two years ago on this date, the Parisian jazz fiddle maestro Stéphane Grappelli built a lovely, tango-inspired version of the song into his set at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Grappelli was accompanied by British guitarists and ardent Django-philes Diz Disley and Ike Isaacs. Listen to that recording here:
Three years earlier,