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Yevsei Beavers
Yevsei Beavers

Killing Me Softly

In November 1971, Lieberman, then 20, went out with her friend Michele Willens to see Don McLean perform at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles.[1] McLean's hit song "American Pie" was rising in the charts, but Lieberman was strongly affected by McLean singing another song: "Empty Chairs".[6][7] This song spurred her to write poetic notes on a paper napkin while he was performing the song.[8] Willens confirms that Lieberman was "scribbling notes" on a napkin as soon as McLean began singing the song. After the concert, Lieberman phoned Gimbel to read him her napkin notes and share her experience of a singer reaching deep inside her world with his song.[1] Lieberman's description reminded Gimbel of a song title that was already in his idea notebook, the title "killing us softly with some blues".[9] Gimbel expanded on Lieberman's notes, fleshing them out into song lyrics. Gimbel said in 1973 that "Her conversation fed me, inspired me, gave me some language and a choice of words."[1] Gimbel passed these lyrics to Fox, who set them to music.[2]

Killing Me Softly

Norman had a phrase he liked, 'killing me softly with his blues' ... But I didn't feel the word "blues" was quite what the effect was. It wasn't contemporary enough, somehow. We talked about it a while and finally decided on the word "song" instead. It seemed right then when we did it.[10]

A high-level mob boss named Mickey (James Gandolfini) arrives in town, hauling his in-flight luggage through the airport like a traveling businessman. He orders the executions of Russell and Johnny by a silky hit man named Jackie (Brad Pitt), who likes to kill softly, as explained by one of the many aging classic songs on the soundtrack. These are the first two of many, many mob-on-mob killings in the film, as the syndicate administers its own version of a bailout.

Why would the author of a successful series of mystery novels featuring himself as the central character want to commit literary suicide by killing off his hero? Is the author, who just happens to be named Kinky Friedman, subconsciously jealous of the fictional fame garnered around the world by the character, who also happens to be named Kinky Friedman? Have author and character melded into a psychotic, schizophrenic entity so clinically ill as to obscure the difference between important clues like cocaine and horseradish? Both of us are glad you asked. 041b061a72


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