If It Wasn't For Bad

Album: The Union (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single from The Union, a duet album between British singer-songwriter Sir Elton John and American musician Leon Russell. Produced by Oscar and multiple-Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett, the album was recorded live in the studio with the two stars on dueling pianos.
  • Russell wrote this song and also provides the piano accompaniment. The two artists share the vocals.
  • The pair first met in 1970 when Russell attended John's first ever US show at the famous Troubadour in Los Angeles. The meeting heralded the beginning of a long friendship between the two artists and the pair went on to tour together shortly thereafter at New York's Fillmore East. "In the late '60s and early '70s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell," Elton said. "He was my idol."
    After years of being out of touch, John listened to Russell's music while on safari in Africa during the summer of 2009 and was inspired to reconnect with his friend. "Elton called to ask if I would do a duet album with him," Russell said. "I'm very happy that he chose me to do this."
  • The photo of the two stars on the album cover was taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
  • All songs on The Union were performed live, with one or two takes.
  • The Union peaked at #3 on the Billboard album chart granting both singer/songwriters their highest ranks on the survey since the '70s. Russell had previously achieved two top 10 albums, 1972's Carney (#2) and 1973's Leon Live (#9). For John this was his 17th top 10 LP and highest placement since Blue Moves reached # 3 in 1976.
  • This was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, but lost to a jazz cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" by Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono Nº1, Jeff Beck and Oumou Sangaré. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

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