1972 Leon Russell – Tight Rope
Leon Russell grew up in Oklahoma. He went to high school and played in various bands in high school with David Gates, the future singer/songwriter in Bread.
Leon moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and rapidly grew a reputation as an excellent studio musician. He played on various projects for Phil Spector. In 1964, he appeared live playing piano in the T.A.M.I. Show with members of the Wrecking Crew.
He later wrote or co-wrote and produced hits for Gary Lewis and the Playboys. He also wrote and arranged Delta Lady, which became a hit for Joe Cocker.
Leon organized and sang and played songs on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour in 1970. He then began recording his own albums. While he did not have any hit singles on his first two albums, his third album (Carny) contained his first solo hit record, Tight Rope. The single reached #11 on the Hot 100 in 1972.
The b-side of the single, This Masquerade, eventually became an enormous hit as well, just not for Leon.
Several other artists covered the song after he placed it on Carny, but it was George Benson who eventually turned it into a hit single. You can find details on that hit in one of my books, Lost or Forgotten Oldies Introduction.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
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