Leon Russell, Member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dies at 74

Rolling Stone said Russell suffered health problems in recent years, including surgery to stop leaking brain fluid in 2010 and a heart attack in July. “He was really sweet and he had a dry sense of humor. I loved him and always will.”
Musician Leon Russell performs onstage at the 2010 MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Neil Young at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan. Russell is survived by his wife and a large family. He also played on records by the Byrds, Herb Alpert and Phil Spector, Rolling Stone said. He also released country records and collaborated with Elton John on the 2010 album “The Union.”
John praised Russell on Instagram, saying: “He was a mentor, inspiration and so kind to me. While Cocker twisted and grimaced through his vocals, Russell calmly controlled the stage with gestures and looks, earning him the nickname, “The Master of Time and Space.”
He went on to become a headliner throughout the 1970s, captivating audiences with his sweaty, gospel-inflected performances. His website says Russell was playing clubs in Tulsa at the age of 14 and that his band, the Starlighters, went on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis for two months. Leon Russell, who emerged as a rock ‘n’ roll star in the 1970s after working behind the scenes as a session pianist for other musicians, died Sunday in Nashville, his wife Janet Bridges told CNN. 29, 2010. “Farewell friend. Musician Leon Russell performs onstage during 2011 Stagecoach Music Festival on May 1, 2011, in Indio. After moving to Los Angeles, Russell played clubs and became an in-demand session player on dozens of hit records for other musicians, including Bobby Pickett’s novelty hit “Monster Mash” in 1962 and “This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys in 1965. It was an honor to watch you work,” tweeted Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi of the Tedeschi Trucks Band. (Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Russell died in his sleep, his wife said in a statement posted on his website. With George Harrison and Bob Dylan, he was a prominent player in the 1971 “Concert for Bangladesh” at Madison Square Garden, one of the first big charity concerts. “Superstar,” co-written with Bonnie Bramlett, rose to No. He was very funny,” his wife told CNN. He wrote and performed hits like “Tightrope,” “Delta Lady” and “Song for You,” which was covered by a host of musicians and became a hit for Ray Charles. A private service is planned in Nashville, with a public service planned in Tulsa. (Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
Russell was born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2, 1942, in Lawton, Oklahoma. With friend Willie Nelson, he co-hosted the first of Nelson’s annual 4th of July picnics. He was 74. Russell also played piano in the Shindogs, the house band on the ABC live music show “Shindig!” In the late 1960s he founded Shelter Records with Denny Cordell, where he recorded his first solo albums. After recording in the 1960s with a group of Los Angeles session musicians nicknamed the Wrecking Crew, Russell captured the public’s attention as the top hat-wearing pianist and bandleader on Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in 1970. Thank God we caught up with each other and made ‘The Union.’ He got his reputation back and felt fulfilled. The resulting recording won a Grammy for album of the year. 2 on the pop charts when covered by The Carpenters, according to Russell’s official website. 36.162664
-86.781602 Russell also collaborated with a who’s who of famous musicians. Honey Bridges, his daughter, told CNN he was recovering from a quadruple bypass when his health took a turn for the worse. Tributes started pouring in Sunday from other musicians. Though still active, Russell became less popular over the following decades. Russell was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 because of his decades of work as a pianist, guitarist and songwriter.