Leon Russell was born in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1941. He studied classical piano as a boy and took up trumpet in his teens. Not too many years later, he was on the road as a sideman to Jerry Lee Lewis and Ronnie Hawkins and ended-up on the west coast.
Leon remained in Los Angeles and quickly became one of the city’s more prominent studio musicians also often working as an arranger, conductor and producer. Russell was one of Phil Spector’s, “Wall of Sound” session people, he also played on The Byrds’, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and arranged and co-wrote most of the big hits of pop star, Gary Lewis including She’s Just My Style” and “Everybody Loves a Clown.”
Leon Russell gained a higher public profile when the 1969 Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett album, “Accept No Substitute” became a major hit. Leon had arranged the album and played piano and guitar in his now distinctive style that became such a part of the sound of the group called Delaney & Bonnie and Friends.
Russell really skyrocketed when he got involved with Joe Cocker who was already a star. Cocker’s producer, Denny Cordell hired Leon to arrange and co-produce the new Cocker album which included more hits for Joe including Leon’s song, “Delta Lady.” When Cocker set out to tour the US he logically recruited Leon to serve as bandleader and arranger for the now legendary 1970 “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour. That renowned cross-country tour has been preserved as a feature film and live album.
Following the critical success of the tour, Russell’s reputation was strong enough that he and Cordell formed their own record company – Shelter – and launched the label with this very Leon Russell, “Leon Russell” album. The album features the first ever recording of “A Song For You” which has become one of Russell’s best-known songs with versions released over the years by more than 40 different artists including the Carpenters, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Willie Nelson, Helen Reddy, Whitney Houston, Elkie Brooks, Amy Winehouse, Donny Hathaway and Christina Aguilera.
The rest, as they say, is history for Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011 followed a few months later with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
1. A Song For You
2. Dixie Lullaby
3. I Put A Spell On You
4. Shoot Out On The Plantation
6. Delta Lady
7. Prince Of Peace
8. Give Peace A Chance
9. Hurtsome Body
10. Pisces Apple Lady
11. Roll Away The Stone
Label/Make: Audio FidelityGenre/Model: RockDescription: 180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - SealedUPC: 780014225711
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