Deep Cuts From 1971: ‘ A Song For You’ – Donny Hathaway. Written and first recorded in 1970 by Leon Russell- on his first album- Leon Russell- ‘A Song For You’ has been called an American classic by Sir Elton John. The song has been covered a number of times over the years- by such great artists as Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Ray Charles and The Carpenters. In 1971 soul singer Donny Hathaway gave the song his interpretation on his second album- Donny Hathaway. It was only an album cut- was never released as a single.