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Lyr Req: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

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THE FIRST TIME


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (40)
Did Ewan Maccoll sing The First Time (46)
Lyr Req: First time ever I saw your face (32)
(origins) Origins: The First Time (Ever) - MacColl (20)
Lyr/Chords Req: The First Time Ever I...(MacColl) (18)


Alan 16 Dec 98 - 11:19 AM
Benson 16 Dec 98 - 11:41 AM
SteveF 16 Dec 98 - 12:01 PM
Ewan McV 16 Dec 98 - 12:18 PM
Harald Schmidt 16 Dec 98 - 12:28 PM
Barbara 16 Dec 98 - 12:54 PM
16 Dec 98 - 01:24 PM
Benson 16 Dec 98 - 04:07 PM
Barbara 16 Dec 98 - 05:22 PM
Joe Offer 17 Dec 98 - 02:51 AM
Ewan McV 17 Dec 98 - 10:25 AM
Benson 17 Dec 98 - 10:54 AM
Alan 17 Dec 98 - 09:57 PM
Susan A-R 17 Dec 98 - 11:17 PM
Barbara 18 Dec 98 - 02:16 AM
skw@ 22 Dec 98 - 01:58 PM
Barry Finn 22 Dec 98 - 02:57 PM
BSeed 22 Dec 98 - 05:33 PM
Joe Offer 22 Dec 98 - 05:57 PM
BSeed 22 Dec 98 - 09:22 PM
ralph raiola 22 Dec 98 - 09:29 PM
Roger in Baltimore 23 Dec 98 - 12:11 AM
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Subject: A song whose name I don't know
From: Alan
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 11:19 AM

Years ago I heard a song sung by Nana Mouskouri, but I never found out the name. The first part goes roughly like this: The first time ever I saw your face I thought(?) the sun rose in your eyes And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave to the dark and the empty skies my love...

Would anyone kindly provide any information about this song, name, writer, lyrics, mp3, sites, realaudio, anything?

Thanks in advance!

Alan


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Benson
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 11:41 AM

I have heard those lyrics on a Roberta Flack album from about .....'72 or .....The First time.....


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
From: SteveF
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 12:01 PM

THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
Author: Words & Music by Ewan MacColl
c. 1957 Sing Out, Inc.
Artist: Roberta Flack

The First Time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gift you gave
To the dark and empty skies, my love,
To the dark and empty skies.

The first time ever I kissed your mouth,
I felt the earth move in my hand,
Like a trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love,
That was there at my command.

The first time ever I lay with you
And felt your heart beat close to mine
I thought our joy would fill the earth
And last til the end of time, my love,
And last till the end of time.

This song has been recorded by a great many artists.


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Ewan McV
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 12:18 PM

The song was written by Ewan Maccoll for Peggy Seeger. Think for a moment what the text would have been if it had ben written on first seeing Pete Seeger!


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Harald Schmidt
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 12:28 PM

To Ewan:

...if it had been written on first seeing Pete Seeger?

The First Time ever I saw your face
I saw the whole life burning in your eyes
And the beer and whisky were the gift you gave
To the dark and empty streets, me bucko,
To the dark and empty streets.

.... only joking :-))


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Barbara
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 12:54 PM

I'm delighted to see that Jerry provided the correct words. Roberta Flack, when she popularized the song, changed the word "thought" in the third verse to the word "knew"; a change that completely changed and entirely corrupted the meaning of the song for me.
When McColl/Seeger came through this part of Oregon back in the early '80s I requested the song, and Ewan seemed surprised that anyone would still associate it with them/him, but he sang it, and it was lovely.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From:
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 01:24 PM

One of the best things about the DT is that you don't have to know the name; just enter any phrese or words you do know in the box, and bingo!


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Benson
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 04:07 PM

Dear Barbara, I wonder if there is a lesson to be learned here.......As I, for one, have never quiite learned how to distinguish..... that which I know...from that which I think....or even that which I "feel"..... If you would be so kind as to explian this ....I, for one, would truly benefit from the experience.....and would exercize care not to "corrupt" the kindest of intentions with misspoken words....... Suppose it went like this....... The first time ...ever I saw your face.... The sun rose in your.......... Even that would have a different meaning....


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Barbara
Date: 16 Dec 98 - 05:22 PM

Benson, in context the words "think" and "know" have -- for me, anyway -- different connotations.
"I thought our love would fill the earth..." tells me the singer believed that at the moment he lay with her; it has a sort of bittersweet quality to it that speaks of that moment of first being wildly in love with someone,
Whereas "I knew our love would fill the earth..." conveys a certainty that this love will always last this way(to the end of time); something that is not true in my experience.
You think it's going to but it doesn't. It changes into something else, or it dies. I like this song because it says something true; changing the word to "knew" makes the song false.
Leaving out both "thought" and "knew" doesn't bother me, I like what it does, except it spoils the meter.(grin).
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 02:51 AM

Barbara - did you say you heard Ewan MacColl sing this? Do you know if he ever recorded the song? I've heard Peggy Seeger recordings, but not MacColl. I had the impression he didn't perform the song in public.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Ewan McV
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 10:25 AM

I certainly have heard MacColl sing it in concert, but not in his latter years, when Peggy took it over. I've a notion he recorded it back in the late 50s, probably eons out of print I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Benson
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 10:54 AM

Dear Barbara, Interesting notion.....To know, to think, to feel........Attitudes requiring definitions......I am not sure that love ever dies.....Perhaps, only our "perception" of love.... Love will never be an entity unto itself........Not to be confused with passion.....It is merely a decision. At times I "think" it is more than we as mortals can handle.... Pax....


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Subject: Thank you!
From: Alan
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 09:57 PM

Thanks everyone. Thanks mudcat. You're wonderful!

Alan


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Susan A-R
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 11:17 PM

I guess Ewan didn't get too caught up in think/know/feel. He and Peggy certainly lasted to "the end of time." I also have heard him sing the song (and I have never heard him live.) so there's a recording out there somewhere. . . Wonder who else recorded the song. I know that Peter, Paul and Mary did, and I'm sure I know of others. Any additions to the list??


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Barbara
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 02:16 AM

Chad Mitchell Trio did, on "Reflecting".

I'm not saying love won't last, just that it changes, and the song seems to me to be about the power of new love.
Blessings,
barbara


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: skw@
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 01:58 PM

Dave Burland sings it on 'The Songs of Ewan MacColl'. Here's some more information:

[1989:] It is ironic, considering MacColl's history, that the one song for which he is best known is not political at all, but a love song, and that it became a hit not for him, or Peggy Seeger, but for Roberta Flack. [It] was written "in eight or nine minutes" in 1956 while MacColl, in London, was phoning Peggy Seeger in Los Angeles. Peggy sang it in public for the first time that same evening.
In 1972 that same song caused a sensation when Flack's version was used in the soundtrack of the Clint Eastwood film 'Play Misty For Me'. It was a million-selling number one hit in the USA, and won Grammys for both her and MacColl, and has earned far more than anything else he has written. When I met him at his house in a quiet, tree-lined street in the south London suburb of Beckenham, I noticed that there were builders at work redecorating. [...] He could afford this, he said, because Oil of Ulay had used one line of The First Time Ever in a beauty products television commercial.
It was all the more ironic considering the history of MacColl's relationship with the USA. In Britain, in the fifties, MacColl's views were profoundly opposed to those of the Conservative Government in power, but that didn't stop him working [...]. It was when MacColl tried to sing in the USA in 1960 that [...] the American Embassy in London refused to grant him a visa, and when he asked why, he was shown a dossier and a photograph of himself that had been taken at an anti-Fascist meeting outside the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, twenty-seven years earlier. Like so many in the USA, he was told he had committed that quite extraordinary sin of being a 'premature anti-Fascist'. (Robin Denselow, When the Music's Over 28)

[1990:] At different times I've thought of myself as a dramatist, a slater's labourer, teaboy, errand lad, ballad-singer, apprentice motor mechanic, unemployed ... but never as a songwriter. [...] If the success [of The First Time Ever] had followed hard on the heels of the song's composition, it might have been a different story. I mean, I might have noticed what was happening. But it took more than fifteen years to take off and hit the jackpot. Peggy gave it its first performance at a solo concert in Los Angeles. It was part of an eight weeks' tour of the USA, for which, at the last moment, the State Department had refused to grant me a visa.
[A] lot of people heard The First Time Ever sung in the way it was meant to be sung. Twelve months later the Kingston Trio recorded it in a sanitised version - they changed 'The first time ever I lay with you' to 'The first time ever I danced with you'. Several more months passed and it was recorded again, this time in a more apt arrangement by Peter, Paul and Mary. It was slowly catching on and, in the months that followed, it appeared on albums made by the Brothers Four, the Smothers Brothers, Harry Belafonte, Elvis Presley and others. [...] It made singularly little impression on me. I was scarcely conscious of it. I had lots of other things on my mind, not least of which was the need to earn a living. [...]
It wasn't until 1971 when Roberta Flack recorded her soul version of the song that I became aware of having written a commercially successful 'hit'. At first I didn't realise just how successful. A friend happened to mention that he'd heard it sung in a pop-music programme on the radio. I was unimpressed and continued to be unimpressed. I was in my mid-fifties and had lived hand to mouth for almost all of my life. [...]
What I do remember about the early days of the success of First Time Ever is a curious phone call. In 1971, an American voice at the other end introduced itself as belonging to the London representative of an American magazine. 'I'd like to ask you a few questions,' said the voice. 'Go ahead,' says I. 'How does it feel to have written the number one hit in the States?' I had just started to reply when the voice cut in again, the smooth interviewer's manner collapsing before the sudden flood of hate and anger. 'How does it feel to be a dirty fucking cocksucking red bastard ...' At this point he became inarticulate with rage and began to shriek obscenities. I was shaking when I put the phone down. Completely unnerved. [...]
The success of The First Time Ever was a kind of watershed in our lives. Both Peggy and I were now in a position to spend a lot more time on political songwriting. (Ewan MacColl, Journeyman (Autobiography) 362ff.)


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 02:57 PM

Can there be "to much of a good thing". I saw Peggy & Ewan at a house concert in L.A. in the late 70's & Peggy asked if there were any requests, except for "First Time". She'd said that by this time, when she sang it, she couldn't stop her mind from wandering off & she'd start to think about the shopping, the laundry, about everything else but the song & it wasn't fair to those listening or to herself to sing in that frame of mind. Barry


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: BSeed
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 05:33 PM

another wonderful thread to add to my tracer. it is a truly beautiful song, and this discussion, ranging from changes (I'm with you, Barbara) to MacColl's memories of it, is fascinating. Could some one post the chords? --seed


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 05:57 PM

Hi, Seed - here's what Rise Up Singing suggests for chords:

D A D - / - - F#m G / D Em D - / C - D - / /

--Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: BSeed
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 09:22 PM

Thanks, Joe. I'm having a bit of difficulty making them fit, though (the first two lines are fine, the third a bit problematical, the 4th (and 5th--the same?) gets really tough. I'll keep working at it. --seed


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Subject: RE: A song whose name I don't know
From: ralph raiola
Date: 22 Dec 98 - 09:29 PM

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all...

I have a friend, a girl, whose favorite song has this lyric for the chorus...

"Jimmy please say you'll wait for me I'll grow up one day you'll see Saving all my kisses just for you Signed with love forever true..."

The story is about a girl, joanie, who is love with an older guy, jimmy, who doesn't want her cause she's so young, but when she gets older, he goes after her, only to find she's married his "..best friend john..."

I was wondering if anyone knew the name of this, and who sang it...Unfortunately, this is all i know of the song, but if anyone has any knowledge please drop me a line...

Thank you

Ralph Raiola


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Subject: Chords Add: THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 23 Dec 98 - 12:11 AM

Seed,

The RUS chords are a simplification of the guitar part for this song. It does not follow a simple structure (most likely Ewan sang it into being without musical accompaniment). I've placed the RUS chords "sort of" in their place. The song works best with the melody sounded out with some chords as filler, rather than chorded out.

Good luck.

 D~~~~~~~~~~A~~~~~~~~~~~D
The first time ever I saw your face

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~F#M~~G
I thought the sun rose in your eye

~~~~~~~~~D~~~~~~~~Em~~~~~~~~~~~~~D
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave

~~~~~~~~C~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~D
To the dark and the empty skies, my love,

~~~~~~~~C~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~D
To the dark and the empty skies.

Roger in Baltimore


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