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]

A Song for You covered from 1970 to 2019:[8][9][10]

Year Artist Album Notes
1970 Leon Russell Leon Russell First release. Not released as a single
1971 Merry Clayton Merry Clayton Also on The Best Of Merry Clayton from 2013
1971 Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway
1971 Lena Horne Nature's Baby
1971 Bill Medley A Song for You
1971 Jaye P. Morgan The 1950s chanteuse had her final Billboard chart song in 1971 with this tune ("Bubbling Under #105)
1971 Helen Reddy I Don't Know How to Love Him
1971 Judy Stone Pure Stone
1972 The Carpenters A Song for You Not released as a single
they also performed this song live on a Bob Hope TV Special that aired on October 5, 1972[11][12]
1972 Cher Foxy Lady she also performed the song on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
1972 Billy Eckstine Senior Soul
1972 Buddy Greco It's My Life
1972 Jack Jones A Song for You
1972 Peggy Lee Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota
1972 Carmen McRae The Great American Songbook
1972 The Politicians The Politicians featuring McKinley Jackson
1973 Björn Skifs & Blåblus Pinewood rally
1973 Vikki Carr Live at the Greek Theatre
1973 Woody Herman Giant Steps
1973 Morgana King New Beginnings
1973 Don Lane Don Lane
1973 Lill Lindfors Kom igen!
1973 Willie Nelson Shotgun Willie He also performed it in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, and it appears on the movie's soundtrack.
1973 Houston Person A Song for You
1973 Lou Rawls Live at the Century Plaza
1973 Al Wilson Show and Tell
1974 Petula Clark Royal Albert Hall Also on her compilation album Open Your Heart in 2009[13]
1974 Aretha Franklin Let Me in Your Life Lyric altered from "10,000 people watching" to "Millions of people watching"
1974 Denis King All In Love Is Fair
1974 Mari Nakamoto Three Blind Mice
1974 Freda Payne Payne & Pleasure
1974 Tony Ronald Juntos
1974 Telly Savalas Some Broken Hearts
1974 The Temprees Temprees
1974 Maxine Weldon Some Singin
1975 George Baker Song for You
1975 Barbara Cook Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall
1975 Mina La Mina Sung in Italian as "Quasi Come Musica"
1975 Fausto Papetti 21a Raccolta
1975 The Temptations A Song for You Not released as a single
1975 Phil Woods Images
1976 Joe Cocker Stingray (album)
1976 Ronnie Dyson The More You Do It
1976 Anna Leah Reborn
1976 Lou Rawls Naturally
1976 Donna Summer Recorded at NBC Studios in Burbank, California
Summer often sang this as the encore during tours from 1977 to 1979[14], and again in 1983.
1978 Ron Carter A Song for You
1978 Earl Coleman A Song for You
1978 Betty Wright Betty Wright Live
1979 Wendel Adkins Live At Whiskey River
1979 Tadao Hayashi Finger Trip II
1979 Salena Jones Stormy With Luv
1979 Sylvester Living Proof
1982 Willy Heynen & Ingrid Pollet The Long Years
1984 Anita O'Day A Song For You
1986 Elton John he performed this song as an intro to a medley of his own songs "Blue Eyes" & "I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues" on Tour
1987 Nancy Wilson Forbidden Lover
1990 Dianne Mower A Song for You
1990 Talk of Night Talk of Night
1991 British Electric Foundation and Mavis Staples Music of Quality & Distinction Volume 2
1993 Michael Ball 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.
1993 Norman Connors Remember Who You Are
1993 Mike Garson The Oxnard Sessions, Vol. 2
1993 Devon Sinclair Songs From The Heart
1994 Damian Hall and Aaron Hall Straight to the Point
1994 Shirley Horn I Love You, Paris she recorded her version on March 7, 1992 in Paris, France[15]
1994 Vince Jones Kate Ceberano and Friends a Kate Ceberano album
1996 Diahann Carroll At The Montreux Jazz Festival
1996 Cæcilie Norby My Corner of the Sky
1996 Dusty Springfield Something Special recorded on November 19, 1971 for her 1972 album "See All Her Faces"[16]
1997 Kimiko Itoh The Time of My Life
1998 Gerald Levert New York Undercover: A Night at Natalie’s
1998 Marie Carmen Koppel TAXA Kronehits
1998 Jimmy Spencer Song For You
1998 Binghamton Crosbys Super Bos
1998 Sanne Salomonsen with Chris Minh Doky In a New York Minute
1998 Lainie Kazan In the Groove
1999 Peabo Bryson Unconditional Love
1999 Natalie Cole Snowfall on the Sahara
1999 Pilita Corrales A Song for You
1999 Vincent Wolfe Trust the Vibe
2000 Sakura [Japanese Act] Room 508
2001 City High City High
2001 Merv Griffin It's Like a Dream
2001 Harumi Igarashi A Song for You Japan
2001 Tchello Palma Song for you
2001 Neal Schon Voice
2001 Three Mo' Tenors A Song for You
2002 Eden Atwood My Ideal
2002 Jeremy Monteiro Trio A Song For You, Karen
2002 Kenny Rankin Song for You
2002 Andy Snitzer Over Crystal Green
2002 Colm Wilkinson Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs
2002 Will & Rainbow Sugar
2003 Ann Nesby Church: Songs of Soul and Inspiration
2003 Lynette Washington LIVE! At Harlem's Kennedy Center
2003 David Cassidy A Touch of Blue
2003 Renée Geyer Tenderland
2003 Randy Waldman You Raise Me Up
2004 Big Daddy 'O' Deranged Covers
2004 Jasper Steverlinck It Must Be Love
2004 Bogdan Hołownia Tales
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 Also on 2019 NBC TV Special Album
2005 Simply Red Simplified Released as part of a double A-side single in January 2006.
2005 Lady Kim Everything Must Change
2005 Peter Gallagher 7 Days in Memphis
2006 Janine Gilbert-Carter A Song For You
2006 Sam Harris Always
2006 Jitka Zelenková Pod kůží Czech
2006 Kind of Like Spitting The Thrill of the Hunt
2006 Michael Lington Song for You
2007 B. J. Thomas Love to Burn
2007 Claire Martin He Never Mentioned Love
2007 Nolwenn Leroy Histoires Naturelles Tour
2007 Joseph Williams Smiles and Tears
2007 Little Annie&Paul Wallfisch Acoustic Room 47
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.
2007 Marek Napiórkowski When Good Things Happen to Bad Pianos
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.
2008 Beyonce Knowles Tours Beyonce performed Song For You on her 2006, 2008 and 2012 tours.
2008 Eriko Ishihara Unforgettable
2008 Jessy J Tequila Moon
2008 Vitamin String Quartet VSQ Performs Michael Buble
2008 Rhonda Burchmore Cry me a River
2008 Jane McDonald Jane – UK No. 7
2008 Leon Jackson Song for You
2008 Gordon Song for You
2008 Lisa Yvonne Ferraro Live at Fallingwater
2009 Nikoletta Szőke Song for You
2009 Tommy Mitchell Song for You
2009 Barbara Blue LIVE Volume 3
2009 Lucky Peterson Organ Soul Sessions: The Music Is the Magic
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.
2009 Ernestine Anderson A Song for You
2010 Neil Diamond Dreams
2010 Angelica Best of Love and Ballad Songs
2010 Ahmir The Covers Collection - Vol. #2
2010 Steve Dobrogosz Steve Dobrogosz with Anna Christoffersson
2010 Ruby Wilson A Song For You
2010 Kirk Whalum Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway
2011 Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures Released posthumously
2011 Térez Montcalm Here's to You - Songs for Shirley Horn
2011 Tomas Nicholas Audible Spectrumn
2011 Jim Brickman A Song for You
2011 Gino Paoli Quasi come musica (A Song for You) Italian
2011 Karel Gott Zpívám jednu píseň dál a dál (A Song for You) Czech
2011 Heather Sullivan In the Dead of Night
2011 Larry Braggs "Jus' Sangin'"
2012 Elkie Brooks Powerless
2012 Søren Bebe Trio A Song for You
2012 Jam Hsiao Mr. Jazz A Song For You
2012 Lalah Hathaway 2012 Tour Donny Hathaway's daughter
2012 Jesse Campbell A Song for You
2012 Katy Setterfield A Song for You
2012 Han Hee-jun American Idol Top 9 Season 11
2012 Sussan Kameron Música para Enamorar
2012 Max Mutzke and Klaus Doldinger Durch Einander
2012 Darren Percival A Song for You
2012 The Dear Abbeys Proclamation
2012 Hugo Race No But It's True
2012 Peter Asplund Afterglow
2013 Alias A Song for You
2013 Darryl Jordan A Song for You Single
2013 Eels A Song for You Single
2013 Richard Wellington Give It a Chance
2013 Richard Poon Legends
2013 Rie fu Rie fu Sings the Carpenters
2013 Black Label Society Attributes
2013 Steffen Morrison The Blind Auditions
2013 Sorea Band A Song For You
2013 Ruben Hein A Song For You
2013 Coco O Quadron
2014 Caroline Chevin A Song for You Single
2014 Ranee Lee What's Going On
2014 Chris Morgan A Song For You
2014 Delvin Choice The Voice Performance
2014 Roh Ji hoon A Song for You
2014 Dee Daniels Intimate Conversations
2014 Dee Daniels Intimate Conversations
2014 David and Devine A Song for You Single
2014 Damien Lawson The Voice Performance
2014 Justin Vernon of Bon Iver Occasionally performed the song live, most notably during a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
2015 Rob Taylor The Voice Performance
2015 Jarrod Lawson Live at The Jazz FM Awards
2015 Keiko Lee Love XX
2015 Tomco AV A Song For you Single and Live
2015 Telly Leung The Voice Performance
2016 Maimouna Youssef Mumu Fresh
2016 Isabella Taviani Carpenters Avenue
2016 Dami Im Classic Carpenters
2016 Boys Republic BR: Evolution
2016 Cheyenne Jackson Renaissance
2016 Susan and Mike Mattison Live From The Swamp, Vol. 2:Orpheum Theatre
2017 Vanessa Ferguson The Voice Performance
2017 Samuel Storm The Story
2017 Lea Salonga Bahaghari [Rainbow]
2017 Victor Oladipo Songs for You EP
2017 Aisha De Haas Broadway Sessions Live - Single
2018 The Mark-Almond Band Unplugged (Circa 1971)
2018 Greetje Kauffeld A Song For You
2018 Adrian Christian A Song For You
2018 Steve Tyrell A Song for You
2018 Nam Woo-hyun A Song for You Korean
2018 Daniel Evans The X Factor finalists British
2018 James Graham The Four Performance
2018 Dalton Harris A Song for You
2018 Adam Sick The X Factor finalists
2019 Diana Rouvas The Voice Performance
2019 Tony Monaco The Definition of Insanity
2019 NU'EST A Song For You Korean
2019 Shawn Sounds The Voice Performance
2019 Kodi Lee America's Got Talent (season 14)
2019 H.E.R. A Love Letter to Mom Live

H.E.R.

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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  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.
  8. ^ stargayzing.com, When a “Song” Becomes a “Copyright”: Leon Russell’s A Song For You, June 18, 2013
  9. ^ whosampled.com, A Song For You
  10. ^ Cover Versions, A Song for You by Leon Russell
  11. ^ The Carpenters (3 February 2013). "A Song for You Live". YouTube: Beverwyk.
  12. ^ "Bob Hope TV Special on NBC: 10/05/72". Rewatch Classic TV. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  13. ^ Clark, Petula. "Open Your Heart: A Love Songs Collection" (Album Notes). Collectors' Choice Music. 2009.
  14. ^ Summer, Donna (18 January 2018). "Live: Leon Russell's A Song for You". YouTube: Cal Vid.
  15. ^ Horn, Shirley. "I Love You, Paris". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  16. ^ Springfield, Dusty (April 1996). "A Song for You". Second Hand Songs. Retrieved 28 September 2019.

External links[edit]