Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Leon Russell: Inspirational Beard Eh, Bard?

Call him a bard if you can? Inspirational, guru-like? That's what I thought. Well-endowed with a long beard, silver now, he is an enigma.

Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges) is an American singer, musician and songwriter who recorded as a sessionist and maintained a solo career too.  He has 31 albums and recorded about 430 songs. More than 100 artistes have recorded *A Song For You (1970), a song Elton John called an American classic and one recognizable hit that's truly Russell. 
He wrote, Delta Lady, which sailed the charts with Joe Cocker and organized Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour in 1970.  As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan n Dean. 

On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, he had three quarters of The Beatles with him: John Lennon, Ringo Star and George Harrison. One of his biggest fans, Elton John. said Russell was a mentor and very inspirational, recording, The Union in 2010, John's only duet album,  which was later nominated for a Grammy.
Russell produced and played in recording sessions for Dylan, Sinatra, the Turners, Rolling Stones and others. He wrote and recorded the hits, Tight Rope and Lady Blue. He performed at the Concert at Bangladesh in 1971 along with Dylan and Clapton. In 2011 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

*I actually heard it in a New Zealand coffee house while having tea with some friends. Not much into rock and gruff-voice sound, I asked a friend who the singer was. He was surprised I didn't know Russell. I told him my singers were Dean Martin, Elvis and Bobby Vee and he laughed.

"Bluesy though..." came the reply. Yes, nice. 

A Song for You has been recorded by, Andy Williams, Carpenters, Willie Nelson, Temptations, Donna Summers, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock (with Christina Aguilera). 
Information from Wikipedia.
Images: Google.
You Tube.

Leon Russell has passed away on 13th November, 2016.

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