the first time

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a 1957 folk song written by Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, who was later to become his wife.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” has been covered by numerous artists.  I think that my favorite recording is Roberta Flack singing this beautiful love song.

For nearly 60 years, Ewan MacColl, an activist and left-wing socialist, expressed his views as a playwright, social activist, songwriter and performer. During the course of his lifetime he composed a body of work that ranks among the best in the British folk genre. Among the songs he wrote that others recorded and made famous are “Dirty Old Town” (Rod Stewart, the Pogues), “Freeborn Man” (The Pogues), and his Grammy Award-winning song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a hit single for Roberta Flack in 1971, and which he wrote for his longtime collaborator and life partner, Peggy Seeger.

Ewan MacColl, best known to U.S. audiences as the author of the song “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, played a vital role in initiating and extending what is now called the “folk song revival” in Britain. For sixty years, he was at the cultural forefront of numerous political struggles, producing plays, songs and scripts on the subjects of apartheid, fascism, industrial strife and human rights. He had a large impact on the North American folk music scene as well, not only through his songs but through the numerous articles he wrote on the subject for U.S. publications.


Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl

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