Leon Russell, famous Songwriter and Musician, Dead at 74

Rock and Roll room of Fame-inducted musician and also “A tune for You” writer collaborated with artists like Bob Dylan, roll Stones, George Harrison


Leon Russell, renowned multi-instrumentalist and songwriter that collaborated v Bob Dylan, George Harrison, the rojo Stones and also Elton john over the course of 50 year in the music industry, passed away Sunday. He to be 74.

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“Leon Russell passed away on Nov. 13, 2016 in Nashville at the period of 74. His wife said that the passed away in his sleep,” Russell’s website wrote. “The grasp Of an are And Time was a legendary musician and also songwriter initially from Tulsa, Oklahoma that performed his gospel-infused southerly boogie piano rock, blues, and also country music because that over 50 years.”

“We say thanks to everyone for your thoughts and also prayers throughout this very, very an overwhelming time,” Russell’s mam Jan Bridges composed in a statement. “My husband happen in his sleep in our Nashville home. He to be recovering indigenous heart surgery in July and also looked front to getting ago on the roadway in January. We appreciate everyone’s love and support.”


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Elton John, that collaborated with Russell ~ above 2010’s The Union, payment tribute come the musician ~ above Instagram. “My darling Leon Russell passed away last night. He to be a mentor, inspiration and so sort to me,” man wrote. “Thank God we caught up v each other and made The Union. He obtained his reputation earlier and feel fulfilled. Ns loved that and constantly will.”


Russell, one inductee of both the Rock and Roll hall of Fame and the Songwriters room of Fame, faced a string of health problems in recent years, consisting of surgery to stop leaking mind fluid in 2010 and a heart attack that he experienced this July that compelled surgery.

Born Claude Russell Bridges outside Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942, Russell began playing the city’s nightclubs when he was still a teenager. While in high school, Russell created a band called the Starlighters; ~ above graduating, Jerry Lee Lewis recruited the to sign up with his touring unit.

“When I had a chance to walk on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis. I’d just spent 3 days, twelve hours a day, acquisition entrance examinations come Tulsa University and also I simply thought, well, it’s a garbage of time, ’cause I have to study so countless things I’m no interested in,” Russell told Rolling stone in 1970. “ROTC I had to take, and also right away i knew that i didn’t want to execute that. I figured this to be my possibility to eat in a the majority of restaurants and also travel around, play part rock and also roll music, i beg your pardon I determined was easier and better.”

At the period of 17, Russell moved from Tulsa to Los Angeles, conveniently climbing the nightclub ranks to emerge as one of the city’s most in-demand conference musicians. Throughout this period, Russell functioned with artists choose the Byrds, Herb Albert and also Phil Spector; as a member that Spector’s “Wrecking Crew,” Russell played key-boards on tracks like the Ronettes’ “Be mine Baby” and also Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep – mountain High.”

In enhancement to his session work, Russell – nicknamed “The understand of an are and TIme” – started recording his very own music, beginning with 1968’s Look inside the Asylum Choir, his cooperation with other session musician Marc Benno.

Two year later, Russell released his an initial solo LP, Leon Russell, i beg your pardon featured “A track for You.” Artists choose Andy Williams, Donny Hathaway, the Carpenters, the Temptations and, notably, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles covered the track, with Charles’ rendition win the 1993 Grammy for finest Male R&B Vocal Performance. In 2005, “A song for You” duet in between Herbie Hancock and also Christina Aguilera also landed a Grammy nomination.


In the early on Seventies, top top the brink of his very own stardom, Russell rather receded into his influential function out of the spotlight. Between the Asylum Choir and also his early solo albums, Russell served as songwriter, performer and also co-producer top top Joe Cocker’s 1969 LP Joe Cocker! and orchestrated Cocker’s Mad dogs & englishmen tour. Adhering to that, Russell joined Delaney & Bonnie and also Friends and took part in George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in respectable 1971.

Russell likewise produced Bob Dylan’s “Watching the flow Flow” and “When I repaint My Masterpiece” and worked v a wide range of artists varying from candid Sinatra, the rojo Stones, George Harrison and also Ringo Starr come the coast Boys, Sam Cooke, the void Band and also Willie Nelson, who became of close girlfriend of Russell’s.

As a songwriter, Russell likewise penned “Superstar” (popularized through the Carpenters), his own 1972 struggle “Tight Rope” and “This Masquerade,” through singer George Benson win the 1977 document of the Year Grammy because that his cover.

After his prolific run in the Seventies, Russell stepped ago in the Eighties and also Nineties, quietly releasing his own solo work. However, in 2009, Elton man sought Russell’s solutions for a cooperation LP that ended up being the complying with year’s The Union,which deserve a five-star evaluation from rojo Stone.

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The LP sparked a rejuvenated attention in Russell’s work; his unreleased 1974 documentary A city Is a naked Person ultimately saw relax in 2015.