I Know That Song! It Won Grammys in 1974 & 1997

Today’s song was written by a woman named Lori Lieberman after she was inspired by Don “American Pie” McLean (CLIP) at a performance of his in late 1971. Lieberman released her version of the song in 1972, but it did not chart. 

After decades of confirming Lieberman's contribution, two of her collaborators on the song, Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, changed their story about the song's origins and severely downplayed her role. 

They even threatened Don McLean with a lawsuit in 2008, demanding he remove from his website a claim that he was the inspiration for today’s song, but McLean responded by showing them his own words confirming the inspiration, published in 1973.

Even though the song didn’t chart initially, it DID become a number-one hit in the United States, Australia and Canada for Roberta Flack in 1973. She went on to win the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Fast forward 23 years to 1997 and today’s version won this song another Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

This version of the song was a star maker for this group’s singer, Lauryn Hill on the lead vocals. This version became an international hit, reaching number one on the U.S. Top 40 chart and the song topped the charts in over twenty countries; including the United Kingdom, where it became the country's best-selling single of the year.

This single was SO successful that the track was "deleted", thus no longer being supplied to retailers while the track was STILL in the top 20, in an effort to draw attention to their next single. 

Despite the success, it almost didn't happen: According to industry lore, it was the last song produced for the album, a late addition to balance the otherwise rap-heavy lineup. 

But Hill had reservations about how the song would be received. Her group mates’ wanted her to take the lead on the track as a collective recognition of her talent, because, to them, no one could have sung that song the way she did.

Fugees, Killing Me Softly, I Know That Song

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