Leon Russell is a Rock N’Roll Hall of Famer who has been performing his gospel-infused southern boogie piano rock, blues, and country music for over 50 years. He is a music legend and perhaps the most accomplished and versatile musician in the history of rock ‘n roll. In his distinguished and unique career, he has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of the best records in popular music.
Born in southwest Oklahoma in 1942, Leon’s career had a very early start beginning piano lessons at age 4. He was playing in Tulsa nightclubs at the age of 14. After graduating from high school, Leon’s band, The Starlighters, went on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis. He left Tulsa at the age of 17 for Los Angeles where he began playing in the L.A. clubs and eventually became one of the best session musicians in Hollywood. He worked with the best Hollywood producers and top musicians in the business.
Leon became part of an elite group of studio musicians called the Wrecking Crew and played on hundreds of hit records in the 1960’s. He was part of studio groups such as The Routers and The Super Stocks. The Routers recorded the huge hit “Let’s Go” and The Super Stocks recorded surf and hot rod tunes. In 1964, Leon was a member of the house band on ABC’s “Shindig!” which showcased the top pop acts.
Leon Russell led the famous Joe Cocker’s ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’ tour and performed with George Harrison and Friends at the Concert For Bangladesh. Leon Russell has toured with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Edgar Winter, The New Grass Revival, Willie Nelson, and Sir Elton John. His songwriting credits include ‘A Song For You’, ‘Delta Lady’, ‘Hummingbird’, ‘Lady Blue’, ‘Back To The Island’, ‘Tight Rope’, and ‘This Masquerade.’
Leon Russell and Sir Elton John recorded a duet album produced by TBone Burnett, The Union, which was released October 19, 2010. The single, “If It Wasn’t For Bad” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.