Sunday, September 29, 2019

Just in case you're curious: Most cover versions of songs by Leon Russell

178 cover versions

Leon Russell's "A Song for You" was released as a single in 1970 but never charted in the U.S.  It appears on his first (self-titled) album, which spent 19 weeks on Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in 1970, peaking at #60.

Related reading:
Leon Russell, "A Song for You".  (American Songwriter, 11/28/2016)
Russell told filmmaker Denny Tedesco that when he wrote “A Song for You” he was trying to write a standard, and he seems to have succeeded. A heartfelt appeal for forgiveness from his lover, the song is a universal ballad that everyone, no matter what their musical preference, can identify with when Russell – or whomever, from Ray Charles to Michael Bubl√® to Bizzy Bone – is singing: 

132 cover versions

Leon Russell's "This Masquerade" was never released as a single.  It appears on his third studio album, "Carney", which spent 35 weeks on Billboard Top 200 Albums from July 1972 into early 1973, peaking at #2.

Related reading: Leon Russell, Hit Maker and Musicians’ Musician, Dies at 74.   (The New York Times, 11/13/2016)
Many of his songs became hits for others, among them “Superstar” (written with Bonnie Bramlett) for the Carpenters, “Delta Lady” for Mr. Cocker and “This Masquerade” for George Benson. More than 100 acts have recorded “A Song for You,” which Mr. Russell said he wrote in 10 minutes.
98 cover versions

The 'B' side of "Comin' Home", which spent 3 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1970, peaking at #84. 

Related reading:
Leon Russell Remembers His Much-Covered ‘Superstar’.  (udiscovermusic, 12/18/2018)
In a BBC Radio 2 documentary on Russell by this writer in 2010, Singing This Song For You, Russell explained the song’s origins. “Rita Coolidge was the first person I ever heard use that word, ‘superstar,’” he said. “She was talking about Dionne Warwick, who was down in Memphis cutting a record, and Rita said ‘She was the first superstar I ever saw.’ 
“So that kind of struck me, I was not familiar with the word, and I started trying to started trying to write [the song], and I ended up finishing it with Bonnie Bramlett,” he continued. “And then Karen [Carpenter] sang it, and of course she had a definitive version.”

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