Known for his gritty voice and bluesy ballads, there isn’t much Leon Russell hasn’t done over his career that has spanned decades.
The Grammy-winning artist has collaborated with icons like The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Jerry Lee Lewis, and was even a member of Phil Spector’s studio band, arranging the hit 1966 song “River Deep, Mountain High” for Ike and Tina Turner.
Russell’s quite the wordsmith too, writing the often-covered classic love song “A Song For You” and The Carpenters’ hit song “Superstar.”
Russell became an entrepreneur, founding his own Skyhill Studios with guitarist Marc Benno, in 1967 as well as his own labels – Shelter, Paradise, and Leon Russell Records. It was Russell’s Shelter Records that launched the careers of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, J.J. Cale, and many others throughout the 1970’s.
In 2010, pop superstar Elton John, who cites Russell as one of his musical idols, gave him a call out-of-the-blue and asked to record an album together. The album, effectively called The Union, was a soulful return for both musicians and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011.
To read more about Leon Russell head to his official website and wish him a “Happy Birthday” in the comments section below!