Born on February 10, 1937, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, is Roberta Cleopatra Flack, who is best known as an American singer that still continues to perform since her 1968 debut on the music scene. Her discography shows Flack as the first artist to win two consecutive Grammy Awards in a row for Record of the Year with 1973’s “First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” and 1974’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song”. Before becoming one of America’s top female performers of all time, Roberta Flack taught for junior high schools, as well as a home-based piano teacher. On the side, she’d perform as a singer at various jazz clubs where she was first discovered. Since her humble beginnings, Roberta Flack has produced twenty studio albums, two live albums, a movie soundtrack, five compilation albums, and forty eight singles.
Top 10 Songs from Roberta Flack
# 10 – You’ve Got A Friend
Recorded as a duet with Donny Hathaway in 1971 on the album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, the song “You Got A Friend,” was originally written by Carole King and released on her 1971 album Tapestry. While the duet version from Flack and Hathaway didn’t perform as well as Carole King’s, it still did well enough to chart.
# 9 – Set the Night to Music
Performed as a duet with Maxi Priest in 1991, it was a cover song to Starship’s original 1987 performance. It became a major hit for Roberta Flack. Coming from the album of the same name, “Set the Night to Music,” earned a 6th place spot with the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached number nine in Canada.
# 8 – Making Love
This piece was written as a theme song for the 1982 film of the same name and performed by Roberta Flack. It was also introduced as a single on her album I’m the One. “Making Love,” saw Roberta Flack return as a soloist to the top 20 rankings within the music charts for the first time since 1974 as it reached number seven on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary, as well as number thirteen with the US Billboard Hot 100.
# 7 – If I Ever See You Again
From her 1978 self-titled album, the single “If I Ever See You Again” was written for the film of the same name. The song was composed by Joseph “Joe” Brooks, who also directed and starred in the film with co-star Shelley Hack. On the movie soundtrack, the song is performed by Jamie Carr. “If I Ever See You Again” hit number twenty four on the US Billboard Hot 100.
# 6 – The Closer I Get To You
Coming from the 1977 album Blue Lights in the Basement is a romantic duet with Donny Hathaway “The Closer I Get To You,” which reaches the top of the charts with US Billboard’s R&B and Canada’s RPM. In addition to achieving RIAA’s Gold Certification, it also proved to be her most commercially successful hit since 1973’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” Flack originally performed this single as a solo, but her manager, David Franklin, suggested Donny Hathaway help her perform it as a duet instead.
# 5 – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love
Performed as a duet with Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack’s 1983 lead single from her album “Born to Love” became a million-selling international hit. This song earned Music Canada’s Gold Certification and British Phonographic Industry’s (BPI) Silver Certification. This was one of the most popular duets of the 1980s and was a big time wedding song for millions of brides and grooms.
# 4 – Where Is the Love
Recorded and released in 1972 with Donny Hathaway, “Where Is the Love” won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, as well as RIAA’s Gold Certification. It comes from Roberta Flack’s record simply titled “Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway) and it was originally written by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter.
# 3 – Killing Me Softly with His Song
The lyric behind this ballad was a collaborative inspiration written by singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman (and Norman Gimbel) after a 1971 Don MacLean performance. Lieberman’s release of the song did not chart. But in 1973, Roberta Flack’s version hit #1 in the USA, Canada, and Australia. It also garnered her a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2021, the revised list of the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time saw Roberta Flack’s version, as well as the 1997 Fugees version, For Flack, Killing me Softly with His Song, was certified Gold by RIAA as a single while it’s album achieved double Platinum with RIAA and a Gold Certification with Music Canada.
# 2 – Feel Like Makin’ Love
Composed by singer-songwriter Eugene McDaniels, Roberta Flack’s original 1974 performance of the hit single “Feel Like Makin’ Love” has since been covered by a multitude of music artists from various genres. This song was released nine months before the album of the same name came out and ranked at the very top spot among most of the more elite music charts, including US Billboard Hot 100, US Billboard Easy Listening, US Billboard Hot Soul Singles, and with RPM Canada’s Top Singles chart and Adult Contemporary chart. This song also earned three different Grammy Award nominations. Despite not actually bringing home a trophy, seeing Feel Like Makin’ Love achieve RIAA’s Gold Certification and BPI’s Silver Certification is reward enough.
# 1 – The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
When the name of Roberta Flack comes up, this single comes up the most often among music fans who’ve followed her career since the start, as well as among the fans who haven’t followed her music career quite as closely. Released in 1969 with the record “First Take”, this song became hugely popular as it peaked at #1 among many music charts within Canada and the US. “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” catapulted Roberta Flack’s career into superstardom, despite the fact this song had been previously written in 1957 by Scottish-born Ewan MacColl and performed as a folk music piece by many singers worldwide. Flack’s version of it, replaced the folk with a more sensual version. This proved to not only be her breakout hit, but earned her two Grammy Awards in 1972 for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It also achieved RIAA’s Gold Certification and BPI’s Silver Certification.