Richard’s confidence level was cemented by having written alone the two CMA-nominated Crystal Gayle hits, but after that, he felt he didn’t have to prove anything and settled into a co-writing career. Leigh enjoyed the fellowship and camaraderie of co-writing very much and worked almost exclusively in that vein for his remaining years as a composer.
Some of Richard’s best-remembered songs were Don Williams’ “That’s The Thing About Love” in 1984, Steve Wariner’s “Life’s Highway” in 1985, Kathy Mattea’s “Come From The Heart” in 1990, Reba McEntire’s “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” in 1992 (all number ones) and a couple of Billy Dean Top Tens from 1991: “Only Here For A Little While” and “Somewhere In My Broken Heart.”
Leigh characterizes “Put Your Dreams Away” as “less torchy” as his earlier number ones with Crystal. He and Wayland Holyfield had been friends for a number of years and had always talked about getting together to write. They finally did and knocked out “Put Your Dreams Away” in short order. One of Holyfield’s friends happened to be Mickey Gilley’s producer Jim Ed Norman. So they took the song over to his office and Jim Ed cut it on Mickey.
“Put Your Dreams Away” went through several variations before its final version went to vinyl. Norman took it upon himself to re-write some of the lyrics at the session and Gilley dubbed those in.
On top of a memorable chorus, “Put Your Dreams Away” hinged on an interlocking instrumental passage supplied by Tony Migliore’s electric piano and Paul Worley’s guitar. Schlitz Beer eventually used that same musical theme in a radio commercial while sponsoring the syndicated concert series “Live At Gilley’s.”