picture of Leon Russell

Leon Russell
Leon has played on pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel, and surf records. As a session musician, arranger, producer, singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, record company owner, bandleader, and touring musician, he has collaborated with hundreds of artists. Leon (* 1942 in Lawton, OK) began piano lessons at age 4. He was playing in Tulsa nightclubs at the age of 14. After graduating from high school, Leon's band, The Starlighters, went on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis for almost two months. Leon left Tulsa at the age of 17 for Los Angeles where he began playing in the L.A. clubs and eventually became one of the best session musicians in Hollywood. He worked with the best Hollywood producers and top musicians in the business. Leon became part of an elite group of studio musicians called the Wrecking Crew and played on hundreds of hit records in the 1960's. He was part of studio groups such as The Routers and The Super Stocks. In 1964, Leon was a member of the house band on the Shindig! Show on ABC television which showcased the top pop acts. Leon built a recording studio in his home in 1967 where he and Marc Benno recorded songs which were released on two critically acclaimed records. He also recorded and toured with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Leon founded Shelter Records with partner Denny Cordell. It included Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and Klaus Voorman. As a songwriter, Leon's songs have hit the charts across all genres and have been covered by a diverse range of artists. Ray Charles recorded 'A Song For You', B.B. King had a hit with 'Hummingbird', The Carpenters with 'Superstar', and Joe Cocker with 'Delta Lady'. The Carpenter’s cover of 'Superstar', written by Leon and Bonnie Bramlett, went to #2 on the pop music charts. George Benson won the 'Record of the Year' Grammy in 1976 for his cover of Leon's song, 'This Marquerade', and it became the first song in music history to hit #1 on the jazz, pop, and R&B charts. Leon organized and led the band behind Joe Cocker for the famous Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour of the U.S. in March through May of 1970. The huge 11 member band included 3 drummers and a 10 member choir which played 65 shows in 48 cities. The tour was filmed for the movie 'Mad Dogs & Englishmen'. The live double-LP album on A&M Records reached #2 on the U.S. album charts and sold over a million copies. Leon co-hosted with Willie Nelson, the first of Willie's 4th of July picnics. Leon continued to be a regular performer at Willie's picnics through the years. In 1980 and 1981, Leon toured with the New Grass Revival and released the Live Album from their performances. Leon and Edgar Winter toured together in the late 1980s. In 1992, he teamed up with Bruce Hornsby (producer) for the album Anything Can Happen. Edgar Winter also played on the album. In 1998, Leon released Hank Wilson Vol. 3: Legend In My Time followed by 1999's Face In The Crowd. In April 2006, Leon was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Bare Bones International Film Festival. In October 2006, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
homepage: www.leonrussell.com
on tour Click on the logo to see Leon's tour dates.


Surfin' Hootenanny
Stacy Records STM 100-1
released 1963
recorded May and July 1963 in Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA/USA
Al Casey, guitar
Vibian J. "Corki" Casey, guitar, bass
Marshall Lieb, guitar
Donald Lee "Donnie" Owens, guitar
Don Preston, guitar
Dick Wilson, guitar
Leon Russell, organ
Hal Blaine, drums

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