Roberta Flack has been singing in a way that plucks at the heartstrings since 1969, when she recorded the breakthrough song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." She followed that hit with many, many more, including, "Killing Me Softly with His Song," "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You."
Flack has released more than 15 albums during her career. On her latest, Let it Be Roberta, she sings her own distinct versions of songs by her fellow travelers through the 1960s and '70s: The Beatles.
"There's a lot of great music in the world, and The Beatles are certainly responsible for a whole bunch of it," Flack says. "I love the stories the songs tell. I love the simplicity — the fact that they're so accessible. When I got ready to do this album, I had to smack my hand and say, 'Keep going!' I just got so involved."
Here, Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with Flack about the new album, living across the hall from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and a fateful performance of the Beatles classic "Here, There and Everywhere."