Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016) was an American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling records during his 60-year career that spanned multiple genres, including rock and roll, country, gospel, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, southern rock, blues rock, folk, surf and Tulsa Sound.
He collaborated with many notable artists and recorded at least 31 albums and 430 songs.[clarification needed] He wrote "Delta Lady", recorded by Joe Cocker, and organized and performed with Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour in 1970. His "A Song for You", which was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018, has been recorded by more than 200 artists, and his song "This Masquerade" by more than 75.
As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, and Jan and Dean. On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, the musicians included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. One of his early fans, Elton John said that Russell was a "mentor" and an "inspiration". They recorded their album The Union in 2010, earning them a Grammy nomination.
Russell produced and played in recording sessions for Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and many other artists. He wrote and recorded the hits "Tight Rope" and "Lady Blue". He performed at The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, along with Harrison, Dylan, and Clapton; he earned a Grammy Award for this.
His recordings earned six gold records. He received two Grammy Awards from seven nominations. In 2011, he was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
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