Song of the Day #3,374: ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ – Miley Cyrus

Rounding out week three of the 30 Day Music Challenge is one of my favorite categories yet: ‘A Song That is a Cover By Another Artist.’ Such a wealth of possibilities here!

My default first choice is Fiona Apple’s remarkable live rendition of Elvis Costello’s ‘I Want You’ (with Elvis accompanying on electric guitar). I love that performance enough to have chosen it as my 1,000th Song of the Day, so it is therefore ineligible today.

I also considered Counting Crows’ delightful take on Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ Gary Jules’ somber performance of Tears For Fears’ ‘Mad World,’ and Sarah Slean’s gorgeous live rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Climbing Up the Walls’.

Plus about 500 other worthy contenders.

But I decided to go with a song I just discovered last week when my sister posted it to her Facebook page (she’ll probably be mad at me for stealing her pick!). It’s a live performance of Roberta Flack’s ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Miley Cyrus.

The song is a perfect vehicle for Cyrus’ impressive vocals, and she really pours herself into it. This clip captures what I love about a great cover: it’s completely random and unexpected, but suddenly feels essential.

The first time, ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars
Were the gifts you gave
To the dark, and the endless skies
My Love

And the first time, ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart
Of a captive bird
That was there, at my command
My Love

And the first time, ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy
Would fill the earth
And last, til the end of time
My Love

The first time, ever I saw
Your face

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11 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,374: ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ – Miley Cyrus

  1. Maddie says:

    Yay!!! A chance to feature my sweet Australian prince AND Taylor Swift 😛

    • Amy says:

      I love this cover. A great cover makes you think differently about both the original song/artist and the artist who is covering it. Both Clay’s pick (which I’m happy to have you feature) and your pick, Maddie, satisfied those criteria for me.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    When I think of great covers, the first person who comes to mind is Joe Cocker. In almost every instance, Cocker improves on the original material, which is really saying something when you consider that the source material is coming from artists like the Beatles. Of all the Cocker covers, the one that took hold on me years ago was his take on Randy Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” I first heard this song, as probably most did, when it was featured in the film 9 1/2 Weeks. At the time, and for a number of years after, I was completely unaware of the fact that this was a Randy Newman song. I later heard the original when I bought (or was gifted) with Newman’s wonderful album “Sail Away.” As much as I love Newman, in my opinion, Cocker’s cover improves on the original ten fold. Posted below are both versions so you can compare and weigh in if you like as to which one you like better. Of course, Cocker also gets the benefit of having the sexy scene in the movie shown in the video.😉

    • Clay says:

      I think both versions are great. Cocker’s is certainly sexier, because he plays it that way. Newman’s is more creepy and sad, because he plays it that way. A good example of how the same material can take on different shades depending on the performance.

    • Peg Clifton says:

      I agree Dana

  3. Rob says:

    My input for today’s topic is the great Billy Bragg, covering The Lefte Banke’s “Walk Away Renee”. The original is a beauty, wonderfully performed – a killer melody. Billy Bragg changed it considerably by re-writing the lyric and playing the arrangement on guitar. His lyric captures first love/first breakup perfectly … with humor. I’ve posted both versions for your listening pleasure.

  4. Peg Clifton says:

    I too was impressed with Miley Cyrus’s version of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and I am a true lover of Roberta Flack! Not sure if this counts but we asked Echo to play 3 versions of Send in the Clowns Sinatra Streisand and a jazzy version by Sarah Vaughan. All were wonderful but guess which one I liked the best 😉

  5. Doug says:

    Wow! 1,000 tunes? What energy and persistenc.e

  6. Peg Clifton says:

    Actually Doug the number is 3,374 👏

  7. Amy says:

    I love this category and the opportunity to reflect on all the great covers that have delighted us for years. The thing about a cover is an artist only does it when he or she really loves the song being covered, so it always feels as if, as the listener, you’re getting to sit in on a very intimate jam session. There are so many covers I love, including some of those shared today. I might have featured Cyndi Lauper’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s great “Carey,” but I feel like I actually wrote a blog post on this here blog about that cover many years ago. I’ve opted to go with Shawn Colvin’s cover of “Every Little Thing S(He) Does is Magic” because it’s one that grabbed me from the first time I heard it. A close second choice is the cover of “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits. I’m actually going to include them both, as I like the comparison of one artist (Colvin) who changes the lyric to make her rendition heteronormative, while Amy Ryan is happy to embrace the opportunity to sing a love song as one woman to another.
    For your listening pleasure…

    I opted to share a live version of “Romeo and Juliet,” as it gives you a chance to see how loyal and passionate Indigo Girls’ fans are, singing along to nearly every line (including the spoken ones).

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