This Masquerade

Released June 1976

Format 7″ single

Genre R&B/Jazz

Length 8:03 (album version)
3:18 (single edit)

“This Masquerade” is a song written by Leon Russell. The song appeared on the B-side of the single for Russell’s 1972 hit “Tight Rope” and on his Carney album. The song has also been recorded by many other artists, most notably George Benson.

In 1976, “This Masquerade” was a top-ten pop and R&B hit for jazz guitarist/vocalist George Benson, who recorded it on his 1976 signature album Breezin’. It was his first single release. Benson’s rendition is the only charting version of the song in the U.S. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Hot Soul Singles chart. On the Cash Box Top 100 it reached #12. “This Masquerade” was most successful in Canada, where it reached number 8 on the Pop Singles chart as well as the Adult Contemporary chart.

In 1977 Benson’s version won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year, while it was nominated for Song of the Year and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

Other cover versions

The Carpenters recorded a version of the song and released it on their album Now & Then in 1973, as well as on the B-side of “Please Mr. Postman” in 1974. The Carpenters version was also performed on TV with Ella Fitzgerald; the medley in which it was sung was subsequently released on the compilation album As Time Goes By.

In popular culture

Leon Russell’s version is part of the soundtrack for the Exorcist director William Friedkin’s psychological thriller film Bug. The Bug Soundtrack was released on May 22, 2007. It also appeared in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.