You Say It's Your Birthday: Roberta Flack

Also Filter co-leader Brian Liesegang's birthday today.

Today is the birthday of singer Roberta Flack, who was

born in 1939 in Asheville, North Carolina. Flack has performed some of the

best-loved soul songs of all time, including "The First Time Ever I Saw Your

Face" and "Killing Me Softly." The child of a church organist, Flack attended

Howard University on a full scholarship at age 15.

While she was busy

earning her degree, Flack also became the first black student teacher at an

all-white school in Maryland. After graduation, she taught for a while longer

before she began playing clubs around Washington, D.C. In 1968 she was signed

to Atlantic Records and recorded her debut, First Take, the following

year.

After a run of hits in the late '60s and early 1970s--including

"You've Got A Friend" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for the Clint

Eastwood film Play Misty For Me-- and touring in the U. S. and Europe,

Flack spent a few years away from the road to focus on recording and other

projects, such as educational programs for disadvantaged youth. In 1977 she

emerged with Blue Lights and saw another string of well-charting singles

like "The Closer I Get To You" and "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love. She

scored the movie Bustin' Loose in 1981 and toured many times throughout

that decade, performing with greats like Miles Davis, Maxi Priest and Yoko Ono.

Her most recent album is 1994's Roberta, but Flack has seen renewed

interest in her work with the Fugees' cover of "Killing Me Softly," a huge hit

for them in 1996.

Other birthdays: Brian Liesegang (Filter), Don Wilson

(Ventures), the Late Peter Allen, Donovan, Cory Lerios (Pablo Cruise) and

Robbie Nevil. -- Beth Winegarner