Each week on Rear-view Mirror, Rich Terfry and the Radio 2 Drive team look back at a great R&B/soul song from the good ol’ days.
Today's story is on the stunning interpretation of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack.
Roberta has made a career out of her song interpretations. It's easy enough to cover a tune, but becoming known for making a song all your own is something different. Flack recently sprinkled her magic dust on a collection of Beatles songs with an album called Let It Be Roberta.
This got us thinking about other great interpreters of song, and we hope you will post your thoughts below.
RICHIE HAVENS: He opened the Woodstock concert and has made a career out of layering his baritone voice and rhythmic guitar playing overtop of modern classics. Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman," Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," Gordon Lightfoot's "I Can't Make It Anymore," and this gem from George Harrison, "Here Comes The Sun," have all enjoyed the Havens treatment.
AMY WINEHOUSE: We lost her too early as she succumbed to the Rock 'n' Roll Death year and joined the 27 club, but Winehouse was proving to be a wonderful and stylistic interpreter of Jazz and R&B. Her time-defying "Valerie" is a knockout, and her re-work of "Our Day Will Come" is a great study. But one of her last projects that featured Tony Bennett had us in the palm of her hands.
EDDIE VEDDER: Pearl Jam's frontman has a voice that's easy to make light of, but there is no denying it's a great voice in modern music. Vedder has tackled The Doors "Roadhouse Blues", The Who, The Beatles "Hide Your Love Away", the great Hunters and Collectors track "Throw Your Arms Around Me" and this wonderful take on "Hard Sun" from Canadian band Indio.
WILLIE NELSON: Some say he makes anything he touches his own, and with that voice, it is likely the truth.
How about his take on this Kris Kristofferson classic for example:
K.D. LANG: They say k.d. could read the phonebook and you would love it. Lang has some wonderful originals, but her interpretation of the pop catalogue and many Canadian classics has made her voice instantly recognizable. Neil Young's "Helpless", Jane Siberry's "Love is Everything", Steve Miller's "The Joker", Roy Orbison's "Crying" and Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" all stand out. Her most well known interpretation is Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" but it was likely inspired by the Jeff Buckley take on the song.
RAY CHARLES: The genius. Ray released a few of his own tunes early in his career, but the majority of his hits, weren't his songs. You could put down a list as long as your arm, but the song that was truly interpreted is this one.
WILLIAM SHATNER: Say want you want about Captain Kirk and his music career, but he did things his way. From his takes on the Beatles, Dylan and Elton John, to more recent attempts at Thomas Dolby and David Bowie, Shatner's spoken word poetry slam style is instantly recognizable.
Do you have a great cover to suggest? Let us know in the comment section.
Radio 2 Drive
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on May 08, 2012