(Reuters) -Leon Russell, who emerged in the 1970s as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most dynamic performers and songwriters after playing anonymously on dozens of pop hits as a much-in-demand studio pianist in the 1960s, died on Sunday at age 74.
Russell, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, died in his sleep in Nashville, Tennessee, his wife said in a statement on his website.
Russell suffered health problems in his later years, having surgery to stop leaking brain fluid in 2010 and suffering a heart attack in July 2016.
“He was recovering from heart surgery in July and looked forward to getting back on the road in January,” said his wife, Jan Bridges.
Russell’s period of stardom as a performer was relatively brief, but Elton John, who had once been Russell’s opening act, engineered a comeback for him in 2010 when they collaborated on an album titled “The Union.”
“He was my biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter,” John told ABC News.
Russell recorded more than 35 albums and also excelled as a songwriter for other performers. His “A Song for You” was recorded by Joe Cocker, the Carpenters, the Temptations, Neil Diamond, Lou Rawls, Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and good friend Willie Nelson. The Carpenters, Helen Reddy, Shirley Bassey, Robert Goulet and George Benson all covered Russell’s “This Masquerade,” with Benson’s version winning the 1976 Grammy as record of the year.
Russell was known as “the master of space and time” in his 1970s heyday. He wore a cocked top hat, and with salt-and-pepper hair past his shoulders and a beard that reached his chest, created an inscrutable image that was equal parts shaman, tent revival preacher and cosmic ringmaster.
He ruled the stage with piano-banging abandon and, backed by a multi-piece band and a backup chorus, put on a show that was a roiling stew of rock, soul, gospel and country.
Russell’s last performance was July 10 in Nashville
Maui street musician/busker, Kekoa Alama, plays Matisyahu’s “One Day” in a Paia coffee shop, completely unaware that the audience member singing along is actually Matisyahu (who was on Maui for a 2 day music festival at the MACC).
Prince was just pure awesomeness, loved him (major crush too). Best concert ever of his that I went to was during his Purple
Reign Rain tour ( ’86 maybe? -’85, I looked it up), we all held up illuminated purple roses, swaying them over our heads rhythmically, his entrance was him laying in a faux water-filled neon purple bathtub that slowly descended from the rafters high above, then, when he hit the stage he did so with all the energy of a hyper super nova and just didn’t stop, what a performer, what a guy. He was pure genius. This one hurts. a lot.
Huge loss, condolences to us all.
AC/DC lead singer, Brian Johnson, has “been advised by his doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss”. Consequently, AC/DC will be postponing and rescheduling some US show dates using a guest vocalist.
Apollo 10 had the best tickets in the universe when they got front row to some extraterrestrial space jams during their 1969 lunar trip to the dark side of the moon.
Is There a Music Man On the Moon?????!!!!
Your Neurons + 5 Notes = Magic …
On Cruise Control..
May I present, the passport photo of His Purple Majesty.
We all have different goals and aspirations in life and if his was to look like a horny, undeveloped and unshaven Bratz doll, then kudos … and at 57 yrs old? -outfuckingstanding, well done.
Takeaway: Life is short and sexy (as is Prince) so plan your passport/DMV/RMV photo shoots accordingly (-and, as always, bring/use protection).
(NSFW) A back-to-work java jam.
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr …. –nobody even comes close …
For Valentine’s Day … “Love Is …”