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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (2023)

by Peggy Seeger

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Peggy Seeger IS the 'Face' of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. Now 87, she’s reclaiming the song as an older woman reflecting over a lifetime of love and loss.

The song was written for her by her 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”.

There are over 1000 cover versions alongside Roberta Flack’s iconic recording. Artists including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Shirley Bassey, Johnny Mathis, Celine Dion, George Michael, Janet Kay, Miley Cyrus, Paul Potts & James Blake have all stamped their personal marks.


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 the 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 next to mine -
I thought our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time, my love,
And last till the end of time.


released March 28, 2023
Written by Ewan MacColl (1957)
Published by Stormking Music (Concord Music Group) and Bucks Music Group
Recording licenced worldwide to Red Grape Music
Release date March 28th 2023
(p) & © of this recording Peggy Seeger under exclusive worldwide license to Red Grape Music Ltd.

Recording Credits
Peggy Seeger - vocals and piano
Neill MacColl - synthesiser
Calum MacColl - production, recording & mixing
George Shilling - mastering


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Peggy Seeger Oxford, UK

Peggy is one of the most influential folk singers on either side of the Atlantic. She is Pete Seeger’s half-sister and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s daughter; her first life partner was the English songwriter Ewan MacColl, who wrote First Time Ever I Saw Your Face for her. She has made more than 22 solo recordings to date. Please check ewanmaccoll.bandcamp.com for other albums featuring Peggy. ... more


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