AT40 PastBlast, 9/23/72: Leon Russell, “Tight Rope”

Even though Leon Russell didn’t have a ton of commercial success as a performer, he was highly regarded among his peers both as musician and songwriter. This is one of this two Top 40 hits (#34 here, although Casey mistakenly plays it at #39; headed toward a peak of #11). It’s fair to say that his voice is an acquired taste, but I’m there.

Connections with recent posts abound. His other big hit, “Lady Blue” was on last week’s 75 countdown and is yet another song I first heard as an oldie on WLAP in 82. He wrote my favorite Carpenters song, “Superstar.” (That one is a cinch to be played the next time they run a 71 show, perhaps as soon as next week.) He also penned “This Masquerade,” done so well by George Benson.

My favorite discovery in putting this together: Russell played piano on Badfinger’s incredible “Day After Day.” He died somewhat unexpectedly last November at age 74.

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