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There have been some major impacts on us by musicians, both past and present. Some of them changed our lives -- helping us to get through good times and bad. The Beatles came to us when we needed them most. Led Zeppelin took us further into musical places which we hardly knew existed. The Rolling Stones rock us.
And LEON RUSSELL brings us back to what has been there all the time.

Leon Russell was born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2nd, 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma. From the beginning he learned how to play the piano and then became a studio session man in 1958. He played piano and guitar with such now-legends as The Righteous Brothers, Jan and Dean, Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass fame) and the Byrds. The list goes on for a long time.

In 1968, Leon and Marc Benno formed the Asylum Choir, releasing Asylum Choir 1, which flopped quickly. Later, Asylum Choir II would be released by the upstart Shelter Records recording label and would do much better, although lukewarm.

1970 -- the year that would find Leon Russell to be a rising star. Hooking up with the heralded 43-member Mad Dogs And Englishmen American Tour -- fronted by British bluesrocker Joe Cocker -- the 65-show rock-and-roll missionwas a huge success. With the release of a film and a 2-LP soundtrack of that tour, Leon made his presence known. Very known. When he was spotlighted or when he was toward the background on piano, he overshadowed all else.
Denny Cordell and Leon Russell formed Shelter Records in 1970, releasing Leon Russell. It reached #60 on the pop charts.
Leon Russell & The Shelter People, released later that year, reached #17 on the pop charts and #28 on the British charts at the time. By then, Leon�s live shows had become legendary -- their fever-intensities, non-stop rock-and-roll sweeps and evangelical blasts taking his audiences beyond the scope of most other concerts.
In August of 1971, Leon played with George Harrison�s Concert For Bangla Desh dates at New York City�s Madison Square Garden. His renditions of �Jumping Jack Flash�, �Youngblood� and �Beware Of Darkness� (a duet with Harrison) were meteor highlights of the concerts and remain as precedents today.

Asylum Choir II was finally released in 1972 under the Shelter label. It went up to #70 on the pop charts. That same year, Carney followed, spending 35 weeks on the charts, going all the way up to #2 at points. A GoldAlbum for Leon. �Carney� is his best-seller so far.
Leon Live captured the feeling and the raw sound of Leon Russell�s trademark Seventies live shows. The 3-LP set ( and there weren�t many of those), released in later 1972, still invokes one of rock-and-roll�s landmark moments.
1972 also saw Hank Wilson�s Back! released -- a country-based recording that hovered at #28 on the pop charts and #6 on Cash Box�s country chart. Met with a colder response by his morestalwart fans, this album shows yet another facet of Leon Russell�s talent. And shows it extremely well.
In 1974, Stop All That Jazz met with yet another lukewarm reception. Still, Leon proved once again that his music was not limited to just a single niche.
He was still bringing us back.
Will O� The Wisp, released in 1975, contained much of the sound that has always propelled Leon Russell into the musical mainstream. �Lady Blue�, �Back To The Island� and �Bluebird� climbed up the singles� charts while the LP itself reached #30 on the pop charts, making this his 4th Gold Album. Leon and Mary McCreary were married in June. Shelter Records began to crumble, however. Leon formed Paradise Records and things rolled right along.

1976 saw The Wedding Album released on Paradise by Russell/McCreary. Shelter released a last gasp The Best Of Leon Russell (Best Of Leon) that reached #40 on the pop charts (�Wedding� never came close). �best� became his fifth Gold Album. Later, divorced by then, Make Love To The Music -- once released -- met with little or no reaction.
Americana, although more upbeat, managed fair despite the great tracks on it. Life And Love produced, well...not much.
1981 saw the close of Paradise Records and the release of a live set withNew Grass. In 1984, Russell re-opened Paradise to release Solid State.

When I first heard Leon Russell and saw him in the �Mad Dogs And Englishmen� film, I became a fan for life. His music never ceases to bring me back home when I need it most. I was fortunate enough to see him and his band play in Columbia, South Carolina and in Miami, Florida. I will never forget it. Commercial successes and failures be damned. Leon Russell is still �The Master Of Time And Space�.

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The Complete Leon Russell Discography 1
The Complete Leon Russell Discography 2
The Complete Leon Russell Discography 3
The Complete Leon Russell Discography 4

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The BEST Source For Leon Russell Tour Info!
The BEST Leon Tour Information On The 'Net!

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