Top 10 Leon Russell Songs
The list of Top 10 Leon Russell songs may arrive as a kind of affirmation, if you're a longtime fan of the singer and songwriter. More likely, however, is that you never knew Russell wrote so many great songs – for himself and for others.
Despite his sweeping talent as a singer, songwriter and sideman, Russell remained doggedly independent and, more often than not, just as consistently in the shadows. He didn't release his first solo album until 1970, but by then he'd already played on literally hundreds of songs as a key member of the famous Wrecking Crew session band. (Highlights included Beach Boys's Pet Sounds album, "Live With Me" by the Rolling Stones and "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds, among many others.)
Even after he'd found a short period of consistent recognition in the early '70s – touring with Joe Cocker's legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen troupe, scoring three Top 20 hit albums and stealing the show as part of George Harrison's concert for Bangladesh – his biggest hit songs were still voiced by others.
Russell would collaborate with Willie Nelson, Bruce Hornsby and Elton John in later years, but he never lost that sense of rugged individualism. Russell called himself "the wondering wanderer" in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, and this list of Top 10 Leon Russell songs confirms it.
"That's the whole bag – the songs, the performance, the whole lifestyle: Make people wonder. Make myself wonder, too," Russell said back then. "And it's great."