Killing Me Softly With His Song

Album: Killing Me Softly (1973)
Charted: 6 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Strumming my pain with his fingers,
    Singing my life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Telling my whole life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song

    I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
    And so I came to see him to listen for a while.
    And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.

    Strumming my pain with his fingers,
    Singing my life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Telling my whole life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song

    I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd,
    I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud.
    I prayed that he would finish but he just kept right on.
    Strumming my pain with his fingers,

    Singing my life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Telling my whole life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song

    He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair
    And then he looked right through me as if I wasn't there.
    But he just came to singing, singing clear and strong.

    Strumming my pain with his fingers,
    Singing my life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Killing me softly with his song,
    Telling my whole life with his words,
    Killing me softly with his songWriter/s: Norman Gimbel, Charles Fox
    Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
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Comments: 26

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyGrady Tate, legendary jazz drummer and vocalist, died October 8th, 2017, at the age of 85, according to multiple news sources.
    Tate's death was confirmed to NPR by Wendy Oxenhorn, executive director of the Jazz Foundation of America. No cause was given.
    He was on the drums for Simon & Garfunkel's famous 1981 reunion concert in Central Park and played on Robert Flack's "Killing Me Softly."
    Millions of children grew up hearing Tate's vocal talent on many of the 'Schoolhouse Rock' songs from the ABC educational cartoons. He sang on "Naughty Number Nine" and "Fireworks." He also sang on his own album releases.
    Tate was the drummer on the iconic soundtrack for David Lynch's cult television series 'Twin Peaks', which was composed by Angelo Badalamenti. His delicate brush work is a key component of the music. Tate is featured on the song "Grady Groove." He also appeared on the soundtrack for 'Twin Peaks: The Return'...
    He is survived by his wife and son.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    As I mentioned last time, the point of this song is the title of the song 'Killing Me Softly'. Because you'd never expect such a tittle like this before even you were very moved by hearing Don sing 'American Pie' in front of you! I think that the title 'Killing Me Softly' came form the movie called 'Godfather' in 1972. It was a movie about an crime family and became a big hit in the world. That means the songwriter of the writing lyrics of the song must had watched that movie and very moved, too! So he thought and wrote the title and lyrics of the 'Killing Me Softly'. There was more, the main theme of the song of that movie 'The Godfather' was called 'Speak Softly, Love' sung by Andy Williams in 1972.
    The rest is history. Does that make sense ? I hope so.
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    I think that the way this song was written was right as written above. Because Don McLean's 'American Pie' was a good song enough to think what this lyrics of the song means for many listeners. So the team of the songwriters of the song 'Killing Me Softly' thought so, too. I think that another factor came into them at that time. Especially for the writer of the lyrics of the song. Because of the tittle of the song ''Killing Me Softly'.
    Have you ever heard the tittle like ''Killing Me Softly' before ? I think this title ''Killing Me Softly' is the point of this song! I wonder where it came from?
  • Victoria from Greenwood, InIn a Daily News article about the song, Norman Gimbel said:
    "Lori is only 20 and she really is a very private person," he said. "She told us about this strong experience she had listening to McLean" ("I felt all flushed with fever / Embarrassed by the crowd / I felt he had found my letters / And read each one out loud / I prayed that he would finish / But he kept just right on…")
    "I had a notion this might make a good song so the three of us discussed it. We talked it over several times, just as we did with the rest of the numbers we wrote for the album and we all felt it had possibilities."
  • Victoria from Greenwood, InAs a kid, I heard that "Please, Mr, Please" (don't play B-17) by Olivia Newton John was referring to "Killing Me Softly With His Song." I have always wondered if anyone else had ever heard that. I have always doubted that such a legend exists, since the lyrics refer to the B-17 song as a country love song. But I thought it would be an interesting chain of songs inspiring songs, if true.
  • Kimberly from Landing, NjOne song can make the difference. as does LIFE, over and over, teaching us our life lessons, as the words become tides of our times at times. If not learned, they will repeat. Songs bring us together to learn.
  • Rob from Boston, MaDave Steinfeld: "There are different stories of what 'Killing Me Softly' was about. Can you shed any light on that?"

    Roberta Flack: "The song was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. Charles Fox is still here, Norman isn't. They wrote the song for a young [singer] named Lori Lieberman. She was a big fan, as I am, of Don McLean.

    Don was working at the Troubadour, where we all went to perform back in the '70s, and [Lori] goes to see him. Norman and Charles have written a song for her called 'Killing Me Softly With His Blues.' By the time she comes back from seeing Don McLean, she was just moved. So she goes back and tells Charles and Norman about this experience and they sit down and rewrite the words. And they basically tell her story.

    I heard it the first time [on an airplane and] I broke out all the blank paper that I had, made my own scores and started to write the song down. I could actually hear myself singing it. When I got to Kennedy Airport, I called Quincy [Jones] before I got in the car and I said, "Listen. You've gotta help me find Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel." He said, "I know Charlie and Norman! What you want, baby?" The rest is history!"

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  • Christopher from Charlotte, Nc Although Lori Lieberman did the song first,she was not the only one to record and/or release it before Roberta Flack.
    Other versions that predate Flack's include: "Hysear" Don Walker, who did the song as a slow jazz instrumental, Anne Murray also did a pre-Flack version, included on her "Danny's Song" Album, that was almost identical to Lieberman's in both style and arrangement. Bobby Goldsboro's regendered version also predated Flacks.

    For me, even though Roberta Flack's version was much more popular, and i like it,
    Lieberman's original, is by far the best version, because it's being sung by the very person
    who had the experience of seeing McLean perform. Lori's has much more feeling to it.
    I also like the early version by Anne Murray as well.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 24th, 1973 "Killing Me Softly with His Song" became #1 and stayed there for four weeks; then "Love Train" by The O'Jays took over the top spot for one week. But "Killing Me Softly with His Song" reclaimed #1 for another week, for a total of 5 weeks at #1 and 16 weeks in the Top 100!!!
  • Fred from Laurel, MdIn the opening line of the refrain, I had always thought she was saying, "Strumming my fate with his fingers," which I find slightly more poetic than "pain," because of that little alliteration (the two f's), which complements the one in the third line ("softly" and "song" - two s's); and when listening to it now, I can hear it either way. But everyone has it the way it appears here ("pain"), so that's probably right. Still, if I ever perform this, maybe I'll do it my way, even though I'm not Paul Anka ;-)
  • Anastasia from Kyiv, UkraineJackson 5 cover is the best, so soul-touching - Michael's voice
  • Lilly from Chicago, IlI love the Fugees cover, it's very beautiful. I just don't like the part in the end where they yell, etc.
  • Kenneth from Albany, NyThe song "empty chairs" was the Don McLean song that inspired this poem. At the time, Don McLean was not A-list.
  • Aya from Nsw, -The Jackson 5 cover of this song is incredible!
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceOn their second album [b] The Score [b], the Fugees proved that hip hop could be about much more than gangstas. Lauryn Hill's stunning voice was at the heart of this major hit remake of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song."

  • Stewart from Geelong, Australiafirst time i remember hearing this song was in an episode of Quantum Leap,

    great song from the time when music had feelings
  • T from San Francisco, CaLori Lieberman's song was specifically about Don McLean's little known song "Empty Chairs"
  • Dave from Oak Park, MiFirst heard this song 30+ Years ago in a womens clothing store when I was shopping with my mom when I was Three! She took FOREVER to look at the clothes, make up her mind, and buy her stuff! My lil' sis could at least sleep in her stroller, but me, I was running all over the store hiding under the clothing racks, while this song played! My mom yelled and snapped her finger for me to "Get Out From Under There!"; the ROUND clothing racks were the Best!
  • Alberto Colonna from Turin, ItalyIt was in about a boy OST
  • Jeanie from Clarkesville, GaI have always loved this song. Roberta Flack's version is absolutely one of the sweetest songs ever but I also really like the funked up hip hop version by the Fugees. The first time I heard their version was when they were the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. It was one of the only times I didn't think the updated version ruined the song. Now, knowing it was about Don McLean, makes it mean that much more.
  • Cassandra from Katanning, AustraliaThis song never resignated with me until I found out it is about how she felt after seeing a performance by Don McLean. I've had the same feeling when seeing other artists perform. You get goose bumps it's so good.
  • Bridget from Hull, CanadaThe movie, About A Boy, was the best ever. The song's pretty ill too
  • Stephanie from Denver, Co Me and my friends make fun of this song and sing, "Killin' me softly with his ax."
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis is the definitive version of this song - The Fugees' 1996 cover was abysmal.
  • Scott Baldwin from Edmonton, CanadaSpoofed by MAD as "Killing me softly with his bomb".
  • Taylor from Jackson, MiIt was featured in the 2001 movie, About a Boy
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