Lori Lieberman, who sang the original version of the hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song
," claims that "Empty Chairs" inspired that song. A press release tells the story: Don played a show at LA's Troubadour Club. Singing Empty Chairs inspired Lori Lieberman to write the song Killing Me Softly on a napkin. "I was actually blasé about going," says Lieberman. "I didn't know who he was, but from the moment he walked on stage, I was spellbound. I felt as if he knew me and his songs were about my life. I felt like he sang into my soul." Originally called killing me softly with his blues, Lori's poem inspired songwriters Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox to write the song for her. It was released on her debut album in 1971.
There is another side of this story, which Charles Fox told us
: "It really didn't happen that way. Norman Gimbel and I wrote that song for a young artist whose name was Lori Lieberman. Norman had a book that he would put titles of songs, song ideas and lyrics or something that struck him at different times. And he pulled out the book and he was looking through it, and he says, 'Hey, what about a song title, 'Killing Me Softly With His Blues'?' Well, the 'killing me softly' part sounded very interesting, 'with his blues' sounded old fashioned in 1972 when we wrote it. So he thought for a while and he said, 'What about 'killing me softly with his song'? That has a unique twist to it.' So we discussed what it could be, and obviously it's about a song - listening to the song and being moved by the words. It's like the words are speaking to what that person's life is. Anyway, Norman went home and wrote an extraordinary lyric and called me later in the afternoon. I jotted it down over the phone. I sat down and the music just flowed right along with the words. And we got together the next morning and made a couple of adjustments with it and we played it for Lori, and she loved it, she said it reminds her of being at a Don McLean concert. So in her act, when she would appear, she would say that. And somehow the words got changed around so that we wrote it based on Don McLean, and even Don McLean I think has it on his Web site. But he doesn't know. You know, he only knows what the legend is."