"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is a 1957 folk song written by political singer/songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, who was later to become his wife. At the time the couple were lovers, although MacColl was married to someone else.
MacColl wrote the song for Seeger, also a folk singer, after she asked him to pen a song for a play she was in. MacColl wrote the song and taught it to Seeger over the phone. The alternative version of the creation of this song is that MacColl was challenged by a friend to write a love song, with no politics. This song was the result.
MacColl and Seeger included the song in their repertoire, when performing in folk clubs around Britain. During the 1960s, it was recorded by various folk singers (including a version as a solo guitar instrumental by Bert Jansch).
The song entered the pop mainstream when it was released by Peter, Paul and Mary (Album: See What Tomorrow Brings, 1965), and was later recorded by Roberta Flack, in 1972. The Flack version was much slower than the original: an early solo recording by Seeger, for example, clocked in at two and a half minutes long, whereas Flack's is more than twice that length. It was subsequently...