Before Russell met Eleanor Rigby he wrote a handful of lyrics, most notably '1995' and 'Psycho City' (that went on to get released).
But like many things, Eleanor was catalyst for a number of artistic skills Russ took up including record producing, photography as well as writing but it should not be forgotten that he gave up a successful career as a D.J to help his then wife. As far a songs go '1995' was the first release and featured on the B-side of Eleanor's second single 'Take Another Shot of My Heart' but many fans said it should have been the 'A' side and this was put to rights some years later as the debut A side single for 'Box Office Poison' which was top 3 in the indie charts and number one in the UK college charts.
Although Eleanor's most notorious single and her debut 'I Want to Sleep With You' is perhaps her most famous and successful, Russell didn't write the original version of it. He only came up with the title but has since written new lyrics for a version (part.2) which featured on the Box Office Poison album 'Heavy Breathing Decade' and was recently released as a download single.(Cover Below)
He did however write all the other most popular Eleanor Rigby tracks. 'Over and Over' was considered the ultimate E.R single as it described the relationship between Russell and Eleanor and had that all important appealing sound and song structure that their idols the Kinks had. (which was their goal at the start) 'Love on the Phone' was the favourites of radio stations. Think for Yourself was both Eleanor's and Russell's favourite song of all. Mod Girls defined Eleanor and the scene she was on and 'Censorship' proved a winner as a album title track. All were written solely by Russell.
However he felt he had taken the traditional song formulas to their natural conclusions and wanted to experiment after that.
This came by doing new styles of music Ska Surf and Pop Noir, with his bands Ministry of Ska and Box Office Poison respectively and writing or co writing the bulk of their songs and continued this with his latest band 'Psykick Holiday'.
He did an in interview with a songwriting magazine pointing out that sometimes he didn't even use chords, which some people thought was impossible and wondered if it had ever been done before. So even in songwriting Russell is innovative and pushing the boundaries. He also plays around with structures and writes most songs from a different angle each time he starts.
However he didn't totally desert writing tradition catchy pop songs and wrote for Misty Woods 'Wallpaper Man', Symphony Angel 'Tonight I need a Klone, 'Teenage Sex' for the Psychomatics amongst others.
Most notable songs that are not Eleanor Rigby related are 'Mysteries' by Box Office Poison, which he considers his masterpiece. Magic also by Box Office Poison, which won a poem of the year contest and Numbers on the Psychic Holiday album which he also says is a collection of probably his best work as a songwriter.
To see full list of songs go to this page Songs