Killing Me Softly (Roberta Flack album)

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Killing Me Softly
Killing me softly (album cover).jpg
Studio album by Roberta Flack
Released August 1, 1973
Genre Pop, blues[1]
Length 40:57
Label Atlantic
Producer Joel Dorn
Roberta Flack chronology
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
(1972)Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway1972
Killing Me Softly
Feel Like Makin' Love
(1975)Feel Like Makin' Love1975
Singles from Killing Me Softly
  1. "Killing Me Softly with His Song"
    Released: January 21, 1973
  2. "Jesse"
    Released: November 8, 1973

Killing Me Softly is a studio album by American singer-songwriter Roberta Flack, released on August 1, 1973, by Atlantic Records.[2] She recorded the album with producer Joel Dorn for 18 months.[3]

Killing Me Softly reached number three on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape and number two on the Soul LPs chart.[4] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album gold on August 27, 1973, and double platinum on January 30, 2006, denoting shipments of two million copies in the United States.[2] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, which it lost to Stevie Wonder's 1973 album Innervisions.[citation needed] The album's title track was released as a single and topped the Billboard Hot 100.[4] It won the 1974 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review for the Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page said Killing Me Softly has a hit title track and "other potential hits, adding up to one of [Flack's] better albums".[5] John S. Wilson, writing in The New York Times, felt that Flack and producer Joel Dorn "have resisted the pitfalls of overproducing that you would suppose such a long gestation period would induce".[3] Billboard called the record a "delicate, introspective work" by Flack, whom the magazine deemed a "masterful interpreter of clean lyrics fusing a sophisticated pop sound with that dark side of the blues".[1]

Robert Christgau was less impressed in Creem, giving Killing Me Softly a "C" while comparing Flack negatively to Jesse Colin Young because she also "always makes you wonder whether she's going to fall asleep before you do".[6] In a retrospective review, The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992) gave the record two-and-a-half out of five stars and found its music "innocuous".[7] AllMusic's Ron Wynn gave it four and a half stars in his retrospective review, writing that the album "continued in the same tradition as Chapter Two and A Quiet Fire", featuring "simmering ballads, declarative message songs, and better-than-average up-tempo numbers".[8]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Killing Me Softly with His Song" (Charles Fox, Norman Gimbel) 4:49
  2. "Jesse" (Janis Ian) 4:03
  3. "No Tears (In the End)" (Ralph MacDonald, William Salter) 4:56
  4. "I'm the Girl" (James Alan Shelton) 4:55
  5. "River" (Gene McDaniels) 5:03
  6. "Conversation Love" (Terry Plumeri, Bill Seighman) 3:43
  7. "When You Smile" (Ralph MacDonald, William Salter) 3:44
  8. "Suzanne" (Leonard Cohen) 9:44


Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[9]

  • Roberta Flack – arranger, piano, vocals
  • Deodato – conductor, string arrangements
  • William Eaton – brass arrangement
  • Alfred Ellis – brass arrangement, conductor
  • Kermit Moore – arranger, cello
  • Don Sebesky – conductor, horn arrangements, string arrangements
  • Eric Gale – guitar
  • Ron Carter – bass
  • Grady Tate – drums
  • Ralph MacDonald – congas, percussion, tambourine
  • Bob Liftin – engineer
  • Gene Paul – engineer
  • Barry Diament – mastering
  • Rod Dyer – design
  • Burt Goldblatt – photography
  • David Redfern – inside photo
  • Jack Shaw – associate producer


Chart (1973) Peak
U.S. Billboard Soul LPs 2
U.S. Billboard Top LPs & Tape 3


  1. ^ a b "Top Album Picks". Billboard: 52. August 25, 1973. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Dove, Ian; Wilson, John S. (August 22, 1973). "Records: The Rewards of Penderecki; Teresa Brewer Roberta Flack". The New York Times. p. 43. Retrieved May 18, 2013.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c "Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack : Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sound: New Wonder in solid soulful realm". Chicago Tribune. September 16, 1973. section 6, p. F11. Retrieved May 18, 2013.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 1971). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ Anthony DeCurtis, James Henke, Holly George-Warren (October 27, 1992). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. Random House. p. 248. ISBN 0679737294. 
  8. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack : Credits". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 

External links[edit]