Primary Wave Music Publishing Scores Stake in Leon Russell Catalog

GAB Archive/Redferns
Leon Russell in the 1970s.

Leon Russell's 1970 classic "A Song For You" is now a song for Primary Wave Music Publishing. The publisher will acquire a stake in the late singer and songwriting legend's catalog, including that well-known seventies hit.

Under the new deal with the Estate of Leon Russell, Primary Wave also scores the music publishing and master recording income stream of songs like his 1972 debut single "Tight Rope," "The Masquerade," which George Benson recorded, and "Superstar," a hit for The Carpenters. Since Russell released "A Song For You" on his eponymous debut album, it has been covered by the likes of Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Amy Winehouse.

"I am delighted that Leon Russell and his heirs have joined the Primary Wave family," said Primary Wave CEO and founder Lawrence Mestel. "Leon was a legendary songwriter whose music has resonated in people's lives for decades. His songs were an inspiration to so many and we look forward to furthering the legacy of this remarkable musician."

The partnership comes one week after what would have been Russell's 77th birthday. The eclectic Grammy-winning artist died in 2016 at age 74 after a career spanning more than half a century, during which he shared studios and stages with members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones and was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. A central figure in the '70s rock scene, his collaborators and friends also included The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Sir Elton John and J.J. Cale.

"Proud Oklahoma native, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, multi-Grammy Award winner and the Master of Space & Time himself, Leon Russell, is the epitome of your favorite artist's favorite artist," said Jeremy M. Rosen, Esq., Leon Russell Estate Representative. "For me, the next best thing to representing Leon during his life is to ensure that his body of work is curated properly for generations to come, hence this partnership with my dear friends at Primary Wave."

Russell's widow, Jan Russell Bridges, added: "What better way to celebrate Leon's birthday than by partnering with Primary Wave to curate and further his amazing legacy."