Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack’s music is described as classy, elegant, reserved, smooth, and refined. Her 1970s string of light jazz ballad hits, which were romantic and light, continue to be popular on MOR-oriented adult contemporary radio stations. Flack, the daughter of an organist in a church, began playing piano at an early age and was eventually awarded a Howard University music scholarship. After a time of student teaching, Flack was found singing at a club run by Les McCann. She was then signed to Atlantic. Although her first two albums, 1969’s First Take and 1970s Chapter Two, were well-received, they did not produce any hits. However, Flack was discovered singing at a club by Les McCann and signed to Atlantic. In 1971, a soundtrack for the film Play Misty for Me featured a version Ewan MacColl’s song “The First Time Ever Ever I Saw Your Face” from her first album. This single reached number one in 1972, and was there for six more weeks. It became that year’s biggest success. Flack followed it up with “Where Is The Love,” the first of many duets with Howard classmate Donny Haway. Flack’s second number-one hit, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, was five weeks later. After “Feel like Makin’ Love” reached the top of the charts in 1974, Flack decided to take a break from performing and concentrate on charitable causes and recording. Over the years she charted many more times, including with the Top Ten 1977 album Blue Lights in the Basement. It featured “The Closer You Get to Me,” a number 2 ballad featuring Hathaway. In 1979, her duet partner, one the most innovative voices in soul music committed suicide. This was a major blow. Flack was devastated and found a new partner in Peabo Bryson, whom she toured with in 1980. They recorded a hit duet in 1983 with “Tonight I Celebrate My Love.” Flack spent the rest of the 1980s performing and touring, sometimes with orchestras and often with Miles Davis. With “Set the Night to Music”, a duet she recorded with Maxi Priest, Flack returned to the Top Ten in 1991. 1994 saw the release of Roberta, a full-length album that featured jazz and popular songs. Flack continued to record infrequently, but she released albums such as 2012’s Let It be Roberta: Roberta Flack sings the Beatles. This album showed her maturity and balance. Varese Sarabande has released a lovingly remastered version of Flackā€™s 1997 holiday album Christmas Songs. It was originally published by Capitol Records in the title The Christmas Album. Varese Sarabande added “Cherry Tree Carol” to the mix. Allmusic

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