Leon Russell

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About Leon Russell

You can find writing, performing, and/or producing credits for Southern rocker Leon Russell on more than 400 songs. Born Claude Russell Bridges in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1942, the pianist (mostly) and guitarist was everywhere: on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis as a teenager; thriving in mid-‘60s Los Angeles as a member of first-call session players the Wrecking Crew; and later touring with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, some of whom he recruited for Joe Cocker’s 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. He released Leon Russell, his superstar-studded solo debut, the same year. It contained “A Song for You,” the first in a string of oft-covered signatures that include “Superstar” and “This Masquerade.” Carney (1972) and Leon Live (1973) hit the Top 10 and became classic-rock staples. Russell’s 30-plus albums also include four releases by his real-deal country-singing alter-ego, Hank Wilson. After Russell’s career cooled in the new millennium, longtime fan Elton John invited him to collaborate on 2010’s The Union, an emotional Anglo-American super-session. His legacy assured, Russell died in his sleep in 2016.

Lawton, OK, United States
April 2, 1942

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