November 13, 2016

RIP Leon Russell (April 2, 1942 - November 13, 2016


"Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, United States, Russell began playing piano at the age of four. He attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also at Will Rogers High School were Anita Bryant, who was one year older, and in the same 1959 class, David Gates. Russell and Gates played and recorded together as the Fencement. Another student at Will Rogers during this time was Elvin Bishop, although he was a few years younger than the previously mentioned. During this time Russell was already performing at Tulsa nightclubs. After moving to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, he became a session musician, working as a pianist on the recordings of many notable 1960s musical artists. By the late 1960s, Russell diversified, becoming successful as an arranger and songwriter. By 1970, he had graduated to solo recording artist, although he never ended his previous roles within the music industry. After performing country music under the name Hank Wilson in the 1970s and 1980s, Russell had largely faded into obscurity. He re-emerged in 2010 when Elton John called on him to record an album that became The Union. The album brought renewed popularity to Russell who has since released a solo album and toured around the world. Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011. In June, 2011, Leon Russell was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame" (cf. Wiki - Leon Russell - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Russell)