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Leon Russell (1942-2016)


jakeem
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The versatile musician and songwriter Leon Russell, a 2011 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died in Nashville at the age of 74. 

 

Russell was a key participant in The Concert for Bangladesh, a 1971 charity benefit spearheaded by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar. The effort -- which actually comprised two concerts held on August 1 at Madison Square Garden -- was designed to aid refugees displaced by a civil war in what was then East Pakistan.

 

The musical events, which also featured Harrison, Shankar, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Billy Preston, were among the first major rock concert benefits.

 

A live three-album set, co-produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, was released in December 1971. Sales of the LP also were used for the relief effort. "The Concert for Bangladesh" was named winner of the 1972 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

 

The American filmmaker Saul Swimmer, a co-producer of the 1970 documentary about The Beatles titled "Let It Be," recorded the benefit performances and released a 1972 film also titled "The Concert for Bangladesh." Like its subject, the picture raised money for the relief effort. 

 

The documentary included Russell's performance of "Young Blood" (a 1956 hit for The Coasters) and a snippet of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones.

 

 

 

By the way, Russell was no stranger to concert films. Seven years earlier, he was the pianist for the house band that performed during the filming of "The T.A.M.I. Show."  The 1964 picture -- shot on October 28 and 29 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium -- was headlined by such artists as The Stones, James Brown and the Famous Flames, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Gerry & the Pacemakers and Lesley Gore.

 

As a solo artist, Russell's biggest hit was the 1972 song "Tight Rope," which reached No. 11 on Billboard's pop chart. It was the opening track for his album "Carney."

 

 

 

Russell also wrote or co-wrote several songs that became major successes for other performers. Among them: "Superstar" (composed with Bonnie Bramlett, it became a 1971 hit for Carpenters and was recorded later by Bette Midler and by Luther Vandross); "A Song for You" (the title tune of a 1972 Carpenters album; it also was covered by Andy Williams and by Ray Charles); and "This Masquerade" (a 1976 hit for George Benson that won the Grammy for Record of the Year).

 

In 2011, Russell was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/11/13/leon-russell-has-died-74-obituary/93763740/

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The versatile musician and songwriter 

 

Boy ain't that the truth.

I'm so saddened to hear this, thank you for posting it.

 

When I saw the title, I wondered how many would recognise the name & know the breadth of his contribution. I'm so glad for your post-several aspects of Russell's talent were news to me.

 

Rest In Peace Leon...you enriched the world while you were here.

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The versatile musician and songwriter 

 

Boy ain't that the truth.

I'm so saddened to hear this, thank you for posting it.

 

When I saw the title, I wondered how many would recognise the name & know the breadth of his contribution. I'm so glad for your post-several aspects of Russell's talent were news to me.

 

Rest In Peace Leon...you enriched the world while you were here.

 

You're welcome! I forgot to mention that Russell had one of the great rock nicknames: 

 

Leon-Russell.jpg

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Ugh I had just heard a small tribute to him on NPR.

 

Apparently, Leon had felt "forgotten" by his colleagues in the music business- except for Elton John. Elton had been including Russell in his latest projects. Russell said working with Elton gave him a great shot in the arm & new confidence.

 

Amazing someone with such incredible talent could be "forgotten". Well, the music lives on....

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Billboard said Leon Russell put the best rock show of 1973.I can tell you this in 1972 I saw many shows,and hundreds of other in the next 25 years.In the summer-fall of that year,the  best shows  I saw was the Stones-best rock tour ever-Led Zeppelin ,Elton John -his rock pre Caribou period,i went to see Leon at the same arena in September 72 as the others the Forum,far from sold out but ,like all the other shows I was lucky,i was always close to the stage.I had 2 records of his basically because he had great guest musicians on them but was not a fan.He gave an outstanding show,one of the best that yea.The 72-73 tour was long and a bigger grossing tour than the Stones,ok it was longer but he had a lot less overhead than the Stones,Mick Jagger mentioned it to a reporter in 1973.Leon made some career mistakes,he followed Carney with a country lp-Hank Wilson's back-it  disoriented his following and then he released an lp titled Stop all that jazz-,nobody bought as everybody thought it was a jazz lp,his carrer went down after this as a very good selling recording artist.even Leon acknowledged the situation .But in 72-73 the Leon Russell show was one of the best act on the road.

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Apparently, Leon had felt "forgotten" by his colleagues in the music business- except for Elton John. Elton had been including Russell in his latest projects. Russell said working with Elton gave him a great shot in the arm & new confidence.

 

Amazing someone with such incredible talent could be "forgotten". Well, the music lives on....

 

Here's a piece that Russ Mitchell -- now a news anchor for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio -- did for "CBS Sunday Morning" in December 2010. it's about the collaboration of John and Russell.

 

 

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