Peggy Seeger Releases New Version Of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'


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Peggy Seeger Cover art
Cover art

(Partisan PR) Peggy Seeger has released a new version of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. Peggy Seeger IS the Face of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. Now 87, she's reclaiming the song with a new version of her own, reflecting as an older woman over a lifetime of love and loss. The track - originally written for & about her by Ewan MacColl - has been covered over 1000 times to date, including iterations by Elvis, Johnny Cash, Shirley Bassey, The Killers, George Michael, Miley Cyrus, Marlon Williams & James Blake, alongside Roberta Flack's GRAMMY-winning, #1 charting version. Peggy's new recording of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' - recorded with her two sons by Ewan, Calum & Neill MacColl.

'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' was written for Seeger by her then-estranged lover Ewan MacColl in early 1957. He sang it down a crackling transatlantic phone line to Peggy who had returned to the USA, unwilling to continue an affair with a married man. That was the only time he ever sang the song which went on to become one of the greatest love songs of all time. "It was a hell of a way to woo me back!" says Peggy.

With a simple and moving piano accompaniment, Peggy's new interpretation reflects on the memory of overwhelming love, now tempered with a deep mature knowledge of its fragility and fleetingness. The final verse is telling; often recorded by others as "I knew our joy would fill the earth", Peggy sings the original and far more poignant "I thought our joy would fill the earth and last til the end of time".

Peggy says; I've had two life partners, one male and one female, and I have three children and 9 grandchildren. I've come to realise that the lyrics can be interpreted in so many ways. Ewan wrote the tune to mimic the heartbeat of someone wildly in love and I used to feel like a soaring bird when I sang this song. Now I'm grounded within it and that makes me happy.

The 2023 recording - released for the 67th anniversary of verse 2 (The first time ever I kissed your mouth.....) - arrives today alongside the first segment of a new documentary about Peggy, Scenes From A Life, which details the history of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'.

Speaking about the numerous existing cover versions of the track, Peggy says; I love hearing all the different ways that singers make the song their own. It's testament to the universal story and the brilliant storytelling - it's deceptively simple yet so powerful.

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