Leon Russell (here in concert whise Freddy King RAI Amsterdam) ,born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016) was an American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling pop music records over the course of his 60-year career. His genres included pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf records, with six gold records to his credit.
His collaborations rank as some of the most successful in music history and as a touring musician, he performed with hundreds of Hall of Fame artists. He recorded 33 albums and at least 430 songs. He wrote “Delta Lady”, recorded by Joe Cocker, and organized and performed with Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour in 1970. More than 100 artists have recorded his “A Song for You” (1970).
As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, musicians included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. One of his biggest early fans, Elton John, said Russell was a “mentor” and “inspiration”. They recorded The Union in 2010, which was later nominated for a Grammy.
Russell produced and played in recording sessions for Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and others. He wrote and recorded the hits “Tight Rope” and “Lady Blue”. He performed at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 along with Dylan andBorn 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 two years older, and in the same 1959 class, David Gates. Russell and Gates played and recorded together as the Fencement. Another student at Will Rogers at the time was Elvin Bishop. During this time Russell was already performing at Tulsa nightclubs. Source Wikipedia