A Song for You

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"A Song for You"
Song by Leon Russell
from the album Leon Russell
ReleasedMay 1970
FormatVinyl, LP, Album
GenreVocal
Length4:08
LabelShelter Records(US)
A&M Records(UK)
Songwriter(s)Leon Russell
Producer(s)Leon Russell
"A Song for You"
Single by Andy Williams
from the album You've Got a Friend
B-side"You've Got a Friend"
ReleasedAugust 1971
GenreVocal
Length3:12
LabelColumbia 45434
Songwriter(s)Leon Russell
Producer(s)Dick Glasser
Andy Williams singles chronology
"(Where Do I Begin) Love Story"
(1971)
"A Song for You"
(1971)
"Love Is All"
(1971)

"A Song for You" is a song written and originally recorded by rock singer and pianist Leon Russell for his first solo album Leon Russell, which was released in 1970 on Shelter Records. A slow, pained plea for forgiveness and understanding from an estranged lover, the tune is one of Russell's best-known compositions. Russell not only sings and plays piano on the recording, but also plays the tenor horn that is accompanying.[1] It has been performed and recorded by over 200 artists, spanning many musical genres. Elton John has called the song an American classic.[2][3]

One of the first versions of the song that brought it broader attention was by Andy Williams, whose single peaked at #29 on the adult contemporary chart and #82 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.[4] Ray Charles recorded a version that earned him the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

On January 17, 2018, "A Song For You" was added to Grammy Hall of Fame.[5][6]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
US Smooth Jazz 19
Chart (2008) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[7] 61

Cover versions[edit]

Year Artist Album Notes
1970 Leon Russell Leon Russell First release. Not released as a single
1971 Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway
1971 Helen Reddy I Don't Know How to Love Him
1971 Jaye P. Morgan The 1950s chanteuse had her final Billboard chart song in 1971 with this tune ("Bubbling Under #105)
1972 Cher Foxy Lady
1972 The Carpenters A Song for You Not released as a single
1972 Peggy Lee Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota
1973 Willie Nelson Shotgun Willie He also performed it in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, and it appears on the movie's soundtrack.
1974 Aretha Franklin Let Me in Your Life
1974 The Temptations A Song for You Not released as a single
1975 Barbara Cook Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall
1977 Donna Summer Summer often sang this as the encore during tours from 1977 to 1979, and again in 1983.
1977 Earl Coleman A Song for You
1993 Ray Charles My World He recorded a version of the song on his 1993 album My World. Released as a single, it reached #4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, and won him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Charles also performed the song at New York's Beacon Theatre on April 9, 2003, as part of Willie Nelson's 70th birthday tribute (released on DVD as Willie Nelson and Friends: Live & Kickin'). Leon Russell sang the first verse, Willie Nelson sang the second verse, and Charles sang the remainder of the song in this unforgettable performance. Nelson, who stood nearby during Charles' performance, was moved to tears.
1999 Natalie Cole Snowfall on the Sahara
2005 Herbie Hancock feat. Christina Aguilera Possibilities It received airplay on U.S. smooth jazz radio and was also nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2006 Grammy Awards. The duo performed a live rendition at the ceremony that year.
2005 Michael Bublé It's Time
2005 Simply Red Simplified Released as part of a double A-side single in January 2006.
2007 Elliott Yamin Elliott Yamin Performed the song in both his audition for American Idol and in one of his final performances. It was also named number three in Entertainment Weekly's 10 all-time best American Idol performances. The song is also on Yamin's debut album.
2008 Bizzy Bone feat. DMX & Chris Notez A Song for You Samples Donny Hathaway's 1971 rendition. The music video includes Chris Notez playing a grand piano in front of a big manor singing his lyrics in the chorus, Bizzy Bone, DMX and sometimes Chris Notez singing in a dimly lit big room. Bizzy Bone is seen singing the song in front of a tombstone, which appears to be the gravesite of rapper Eazy-E.
2009 Whitney Houston I Look to You She performed it in 1991 live for the troops at the Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston concert and then later recorded a studio version for her 2009 album.
2009 Zakk Wylde Performed a rendition at the November 19, 2009, Gibson / Les Paul Tribute concert held at The Ryman auditorium in Nashville.
2010 Neil Diamond Dreams
2011 Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures Released posthumously
2012 Elkie Brooks Powerless
2014 Justin Vernon of Bon Iver Occasionally performed the song live, most notably during a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
2017 Victor Oladipo Songs for You EP
2019 Kate Ceberano and Paul Grabowsky Tryst first single from the album

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Leon Russell - Best Of Leon (Vinyl, LP, Compilation) | Discogs". Discogs. February 25, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  2. ^ The Encyclopedia of Country Music, 2012: "In 1970 Russell released his self-titled debut solo album, including such enduring songs as 'Delta Lady' and 'A Song for You,' both written for versatile vocalist Rita Coolidge. He followed with Leon Russell and the Shelter People (1971) and ..."
  3. ^ discogs.com A Song for You
  4. ^ "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  5. ^ NewsOK.com Leon Russell's 'A Song For You' added to Grammy Hall Of Fame, by Nathan Poppe, January 17, 2018
  6. ^ Tulsa World News, Leon Russell song selected for Grammy Hall of Fame, By Jimmie Tramel, Jan. 18, 2018
  7. ^ "Billboard Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-03-01.

External links[edit]