A music legend, Rock ‘n Roll hall of farmer and songwriting icon, Leon Russell passed away this last weekend. At the age of 74, Russell passed away in his sleep in his Nashville, TN home. He had been dealing with a few ongoing health issues and had been recovering from a summer heart surgery during recent time. Now, Russell is remembered and his life and musicianship is being celebrated by famed artists and his former collaborators.
Working with the likes of Elton John, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, Leon Russell had an extremely illustrious music career that spanned over five decades. A musicianship that the mixed blues, boogie, rock, and country, Russell’s sound was well received throughout his career. He was born in the early ’40s in Oklahoma and played music throughout his youth. Once a teenager, his talent led him to a tour gig with the famous Jerry Lee Lewis’s band. At this time, his love for music and personal preference led him to pursue music as his passion and career aside from more conventional professional pathways. His work subsequently led him to involvement with the famous record producer, Phil Spector, where he was featured on famous Motown tracks such as “Be My Baby” and “River Deep-Mountain High.”
Moving forward in his career, by 1968, Russell released a solo album called Look Inside the Asylum Choir. With the iconic nickname, “The Master of Space and Time,” Leon Russell released another piece of work which featured the track “A Song For You” in 1970. Now a legendary song, this track went on to be extensively covered by other musicians and even won a Grammy in 2005 by a performance of it by Christina Aguilera and Herbie Hancock.
Through the ’70s, Russell continued to be a household name in the music scene and his work and collaboration is evident throughout many famed artists. To name a few, George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, and Willie Nelson were some of his musician friends and collaborators.
With a resurgence of energy in the late 2000s, Russell got together again with Elton John for the album work, The Union. Henceforth, Russell had a documentary called A Poem Is a Naked Person come out in 2015, immortalizing his legacy.