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Leon Russell Obituary

4/2/1942 - 11/13/2016| Visit Guest Book
Leon Russell (Robert Knight Archive / Getty)
Leon Russell (Robert Knight Archive / Getty)
Leon Russell, a legendary rock musician and songwriter, died Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, at his home in suburban Nashville, Tennessee, according to multiple news sources. He was 74.

His wife, Jan Bridges, said through an intermediary that the legendary musician and songwriter died in his sleep. Russell learned to play the piano at a young age growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also played the guitar. By the time he was 14, he was playing in the Tulsa nightclubs with his group the Starlighters. The legendary J.J. Cale was also a member of that band.

Russell moved out to Los Angeles and became a popular session musician. He had the ability to play a variety of music including rock, blues, soul, country, and gospel. He played on albums by the Byrds, Glen Campbell, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. He co-wrote the hit song “Everybody Loves a Clown” for Gary Lewis and the Playboys in 1965. He also played for a while with the legendary session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. He was featured on the Ronettes' hit song “Be My Baby.”

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He worked with Joe Cocker and, most famously, led the English singer's band on the classic 1970 tour “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” The list of bands and timeless songs he worked on is almost endless. He played on the Beach Boys classic “Pet Sounds” and with a variety of musicians including Frank Sinatra and the Monkees. He toured with the Rolling Stones. He was also part of George Harrison's "Songs for Bangladesh."

Russell also had a long solo career. He released his first album in 1970, the self-titled “Leon Russell.” The album featured one of his best-known songs, “A Song for You,” which has been covered by Andy Williams and Elton John.

He was a musician's musician and continued to play and collaborate with other artists later in his career. Elton John and Russell released an album in 2010 called “The Union.” Cameron Crowe made a documentary that followed the creative process between the two artists in the making of the album.

Elton John wrote on Twitter, "My darling Leon Russell passed away last night. He was a mentor, inspiration & so kind to me. I loved him and always will."

Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Sheryl Crow: "So long, Leon Russell. You played your heart out and we will miss you. Thank you for sharing your divine talent with us. [❤️] #LeonRussell

Sean Lennon: "Leon Russell R.I.P. One of my biggest music and style icons."

Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Other obituaries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Leon Russell, who performed, sang and produced some of rock 'n' roll's top records, has died. He was 74. Russell's wife, Jan Bridges, said in a statement that her husband... Read Obituary
Published in Tennessean on November 17, 2016
Leon Russell Hermitage, TN Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell was born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2, 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma and died November 13, 2016 at his home in Hermitage,... Read Obituary
Published in Tennessean on November 15, 2017
In memory of Leon Russell. Read Obituary
Published online on November 13, 2016 courtesy of Tributes.com
Leon Russell, a legendary rock musician and songwriter, died Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, at his home in suburban Nashville, Tennessee, according to multiple news sources. For full obituary and coverage... Read Obituary
Published online on November 16, 2016 courtesy of Tributes.com
Leon was born on April 2, 1942 and passed away on Sunday, November 13, 2016. Leon was a resident of Hermitage, Tennessee at the time of his passing. He was married to Jan. Funeral Service... Read Obituary

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