Leon Russell – R.I.P.

My first encounter with a Leon Russell song was on George Benson’s “Breezin'” LP. The 8-minute “This Masquerade” was, and still is, one of Benson’s most fulfilling and satisfying recordings. Chances are that you have more than one album in your record collection with a Leon Russell song on it, since he also wrote the immortal “A Song For You”, convered by hundreds and hundreds of artists. Among my favorite interpretations is the one by the equally immortal Donny Hathaway.

Leon Russell recorded 35 albums himself and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Leon RussellLeon Russell died in his sleep today in Nashville. He was 74.

I’ve been so many places
In my life and time
I’ve sung a lot of songs
I’ve made some bad rhymes
I’ve acted out my life in stages
With 10, 000 people watching

But we’re alone now
And I’m singing this song to you
I know your image of me
Is what I hoped to be
I treated you unkindly

But darling, can’t you see?
There’s no one more important to me
Baby, can’t you see through me?
‘Cause we’re alone now

And I’m singing this song to you
You taught me precious secrets
Of a true love with holding nothing
You came out in front when I was hiding
Now I’m so much better

And if my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody
‘Cuz my love is in there hiding
I love you in a place
Where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life
You’ re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone
And I was singing this song to you

(Leon Russell “A Song For You”)

 

Are we really happy here with this lonely game we play?
Looking for words… to say…
Searching but not finding understanding anyway
We’re lost in a mask masquerade
Both afraid to say we’re just too far away
From being close together from the start…
We tried to talk it over but the words got in the way
We’re lost inside this lonely game we play
Thoughts of weeping disappear every time I see your eyes
No matter how hard I try
To understand the reasons that we carry on this way
We’re lost in a mask masquerade
We’re both afraid to say we’re just too far away
From being close together from the start…
We tried to talk it over but the words got in the way
We’re lost insidethis lonely game we play
Thoughts of weeping disappear every time I see your face
No matter how hard I… try…
To understand the reasons why we carry on this way
We’re lost in a masquerade

(Leon Russell “This Masquerade”)

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