For Leon…

Leon Russel’s “Tight Rope” has been playing over and over in my head for a least a week and I finally realized why this morning: the died on November 13 and the song was no doubt planted in my subconscious by my habit of falling asleep with my TV tuned to CNN. Truthfully, I’d be lying if I claimed to have been a big Leon Russel follower over the years, but “Tight Rope” has always been a favorite of mine. And, after a little research revealed the true depths of his accomplishments, I’ve concluded that I must do my part to memorialize the awesome talent that Leon Russel was.

Leon Russel; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Leon Russel; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016

Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016) was an American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling pop music records over the course of his 60-year career. His genres included pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf records, with six Gold Records to his credit.

His collaboration records rank as some of the most successful and as a touring musician, he performed with hundreds of Hall of Fame artists. He recorded 33 albums and at least 430 songs. He wrote “Delta Lady”, recorded by Joe Cocker, and organized and performed with Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour in 1970. More than 100 artists have recorded his “A Song for You” (1970).

As a pianist, he played in his early years on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. On his first album, Leon Russell, in 1970, musicians included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. One of his biggest early fans, Elton John, said Russell was a “mentor” and “inspiration”. They recorded The Union in 2010, which was later nominated for a Grammy.

Russell produced and played in recording sessions for Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and others. He wrote and recorded the hits “Tight Rope” and “Lady Blue”. He performed at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 along with Dylan and Eric Clapton, and in 2011 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Leon Russell – Wikipedia

Leon Russell ••• Top Songs as Writer ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts

Six Reasons Why You Should Know About Leon Russell’s ‘Life Journey’

We’ll miss you Leon…

I STILL want ice water.

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22 thoughts on “For Leon…

  1. I quit using CNN as background noise after the election. Can’t say I remember the name Leon Russell, although that last song is familiar. I’ve always been bad with music — I’ll remember a song if I hear it, but often don’t pay attention to the title or artist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many people will recognize his songs as having been sung by one or more of the hundreds who covered them. Case in point: “A Song For You”…

      Or how about this version of another one many have covered…


        • Never having composed a song (or a play for that matter), I’ve always wondered how composers felt about the ways in which their creations were treated down the line. I mean, is money enough to get past hearing your song performed by a band you hate? Do they get any say at all beyond setting a price?


          • Mixed emotions, I imagine. There’s the flattery/ego thing of another artist wanting to cover your song, and the money of course. But there sure would be an emotional conflict if you didn’t like the way they did it.

            Sort of in that vein, I was just reading last night about how “Country Roads” came to be written (why John Denver wrote about West Virginia). Some friends had written the song, basically, and had thought they’d offer it to Johnny Cash. They didn’t think it was Denver’s style. But the three performed it together once and liked what they heard. I’d never noticed but apparently the friends can be heard singing background.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Such talent – interesting how the really great songwriters aren’t designated as a particular style. His work will endure long past the singers in most cases. My 1st “A Song for You” was The Carpenters, btw. Thanks for researching, writing, and finding the videos, too. Have heard “Tight Rope” many times, but never paid close attention to the lyrics before.

    Liked by 1 person

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