Killing Me Softly

Do you have one song that you can truly say is your most favorite song in the world?

I do, that song is ‘Killing me softly with his song’, sung by Roberta Flack and released in 1973.

You know I love the music from the 1970s.  So what made this song my most favorite song in the world?  In 1973 I was a 13 year old boy in 7th grade and going through puberty.  Was there something that occurred at that time at that age that made this song part of me; a song that I now consider my favorite song in the world?  Was there an important event in these early teen years that I perhaps subconsciously relate this song to?

I mentioned in several past posts that I was sexually violated as a child by an adult male.  I choose to use the words ‘sexually violated’ instead of ‘sexually abused’.  My memory has faded on the amount of times the violation took place, but the last time it occurred continues to be vivid in my mind today.  I do not recall ever going into detail with anyone about the memory that is still with me.  Could it be this event is somehow related to this song?

slate.com has an article titled ‘Neural Nostalgia – Why do we love the music we heard as teenagers?‘ and includes the following –

The period between 12 and 22, in other words, is the time when you become you. It makes sense, then, that the memories that contribute to this process become uncommonly important throughout the rest of your life. They didn’t just contribute to the development of your self-image; they became part of your self-image—an integral part of your sense of self.

First, some songs become memories in and of themselves, so forcefully do they worm their way into memory. Many of us can vividly remember the first time we heard that one Beatles (or Backstreet Boys) song that, decades later, we still sing at every karaoke night. Second, these songs form the soundtrack to what feel, at the time, like the most vital and momentous years of our lives. The music that plays during our first kiss, our first prom, our first toke, gets attached to that memory and takes on a glimmer of its profundity. We may recognize in retrospect that prom wasn’t really all that profound. But even as the importance of the memory itself fades, the emotional afterglow tagged to the music lingers.

So could it be this song is significate to the memory of the last ‘sexual violation’ that took place and is so vivid in my mind today?

stackexchange.com has the following –

What does “killing me softly” mean?

In Killing Me Softly, the singer (or lyricist) is talking about being overcome with emotion while watching another singer. Whether that emotion is joy, sorrow, lust, or some combination of moving emotions is up for interpretation. We do know that, as the musician strums, it resonates with the singer’s pain, but whether that pain is alleviated or worsened isn’t really explained. All we know is that the killing is happening softly – which could be a synonym for gently, or it could be referring to the singer’s soft voice. I’d wager that the original composer intended for this three-word phrase to have a built-in oxymoron of sorts; some are bound to find it poetic, while others are bound to find it confusing.

40 thoughts on “Killing Me Softly

    • Dancing in the Moonlight is a great song! I had to listen to Badge on YouTube and honestly I don’t remember that song. Thanks for reading and commenting – always appreciated! 🙂

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  1. Spear , thank you 🙂
    I not only LOVE this song (it’s one of Mine) but I love what you wrote and your research . It makes a whole lot of sense to me . ( I was eleven in 73/74)
    My “problem” – which is not a problem at all really – is that I don’t have One song or two or ten , there are so many that are my song 😉 , so many “triggers” that it is impossible to choose one over the others . (I’m pretty sure my brain is wired differently than most 😉 )
    Hugs ❤

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    • It is interesting to me that I consider this one song my most favorite. There are many, many songs out there I enjoy listening to that bring back memories. But this one song resonates with me and I just feel a connection with it. Thanks for your comment, hope your day is a happy one! 🙂

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  2. Beautifully written Spear. Your post touched me on many levels. I love this song too. I was 11 – had been through a family split up – new dad – new sister – much change – many memories – some sad – some good – some just thoughtful – around this time – life is so precious – so fragile – and I love reading your posts.

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  3. Great post Spear! In December of 73 I turned 25. I was an English Instructor at Alcorn State U, an HBCU. Motown was everywhere. This song is definitely one I listened to a thousand times. I think another “Help me make it through the night” sung by a young Gladys Knight was another that was beyond great. of course I still listened to Beatles…especially the white album. So much life, Spear, so much life. And yet, we’re still here, still kicking, still writing. Oh, and don’t forget that Doors’ classic…”Push on through to the other side!”

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    • The songs and artists you mentioned are great ones. I personally relate to those in the 70s, this is why I have a category just for the music of the 1970s. These were my ‘growing up’ years and have such importance in my life today. Thank you for stopping by today to read and comment. 🙂

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  4. Enjoyable post. I was 13 as well in ’73 and while I’m not able to remember as much as I once did I can vividly recall Killing Me Softly. If memory serves in our chorus we even had a soloist sing the song. It always made me so sad and I don’t know why. Perhaps even then I was struggling with depression but couldn’t put a name to it. I do remember hearing the song being played over and over but then again it was my mother’s favorite song. Hmmm maybe that’s the reason for my aversion? I don’t know but I like your take on it.

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  5. There are so many good songs out there that I think it would have to take the addition of a special moment in time for a song to stand out as a favourite. Sometimes it’s not always a joyous moment but instead a time of sadness when we come across lyrics that connect to us.

    I hate listening to all the music that I grew up with between the ages of 12 and 18(high school?). It just brings back memories of the negative feelings I was always feeling at the time.

    “Killing me Softly” was made popular again by The Fugees in the late 90’s. It was a pretty good version if you don’t dislike their style of music.

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  6. I still remember vividly the first time I heard this song. It struck me deeply, probably for the same reason as you. So sorry for what happened to you! Thank you for sharing this song, I haven’t heard it in years!

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  7. Oddly enough, I was singing this song today. I’ve always loved the song, probably because it’s so beautifully sung. It tells a story and pulls on the emotion of the listener. It’s subtle and it demands your attention because you cannot ignore her words or deny what you’re hearing. I’m sorry about your experiences spearfruit. It’s not right. Children don’t deserve to be hurt.

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    • Thanks Sadie for your kind words. Yes, children do not deserve to be hurt – we all have our events in our lives – good and bad. I try to take all my events and learn from them to try to be a better person. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

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  8. I don’t have a particular song that I remember as being something out of the ordinary…but then again I didn’t go through what you did….it must have been a very traumatic time for you and I am very glad that you have endured and overcome what you experienced. Music can definitely be beneficial in the healing department! Although I don’t have one particular song, I enjoy almost every kind of genre and listen to music every single day…it can be so uplifting and invigorating for those times when a lift is needed…Happy New Year to you! 🙂

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    • Yes, I agree with you concerning music and the impact it can have on us. I listen to music daily and it does uplift me and bring happiness to me. Thanks Linda for your comment – always appreciated! 🙂

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  9. Music is a tremendous part of my life. Having all older siblings, I was introduced to 60’s & 70’s music at a young age. “Skating Away” by Jethro Tull comes to mind quickly when I think of favorite songs. A close second would be “Fly like an Eagle” by Steve Miller.

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  10. I wanted to read more about what you referred to in ‘the kiss’. I am still a little in the dark but you have already been so brave revealing what happened. We are the same age and I strongly remember ‘Killing me softly’. I was sexually violated also when I was around 12 years old by a bigger boy at school. Probably my reasons for using the violate rather than abuse are different. I was not raped, I was just touched in my genital area but alone on a quiet staircase. My feelings were mixed. I wasn’t entirely repulsed but I was scared. Some years later this young man had turned into an attractive adult and flirted with me. I could not understand how he had forgotten what he did but curiously was titillated by his interest. Nothing further happened but I found out that I was not his only victim.
    I wrote a post about a family secret sometime ago which was a relative involved in Irish terrorism back in the ’30s. I thought that was bad enough until my aunt googled his son and found out that he was a pedophile priest. My family were appalled that I was in some small way defending him. I know young Catholic boys go to seminars at age 12 and their psyche is damaged. They continue living in a cloistered environment without having another context to consider the abuse.
    Anyway this is a very long response to say that I empathize and my heart aches for you, and me and all the other victims.

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