On August 10, 1974, Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her steamy ballad became one of the most popular songs of her career, as well as one of 1974’s biggest hits. Celebrated for her sophisticated style and classically-trained voice, Flack is responsible for recording some of the most classic love songs of our time. With “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” Flack scored the third number one single of her career, along with “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” Flack’s ultimate mood-setting tune earned her three nominations at the 1975 Grammy Awards.
Flack was born February 10, 1937, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a small town outside of Asheville. A talented classical pianist, she earned a full music scholarship to Howard University at 15 years old. After graduating from Howard at 19 years old with a BA in music, she briefly taught music classes at a junior high school in Washington, D.C. She was discovered at a Washington, D.C. nightclub by pianist Les McCann. In the liner notes of Flack’s first album, he shared what captivated him about Flack’s voice: “Her voice touched, tapped, trapped, and kicked every emotion I’ve ever known. I laughed, cried, and screamed for more…she alone had the voice.”
Flack released her debut album, “First Take,” with Atlantic Records in 1969. Record sales were slow going at first until Clint Eastwood chose to include “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” in his directorial debut, “Play Misty For Me.” The appearance of Flack’s song in a love scene between Eastwood and co-star Donna Mills sparked Atlantic to release a new version of the song as a single in 1972. The 1972 version of “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” quickly rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for six consecutive weeks. Her song became the biggest hit of 1972 and earned Flack the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1973.
At the 1974 Grammy Awards, Flack earned a second consecutive Grammy Award for the Record of the Year, as well as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” became Flack’s third and final No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit. Throughout the 1970s, Flack also released a string of Grammy-winning hits, including “Where Is The Love” and “The Closer I Get To You,” with Donny Hathaway.