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Leon Russell: 1985

Leon Russell

Leon Russell (photo: Flickr/Carl Lender)


In a week that saw us lose so many music greats, one of the most notable was Leon Russell. The career of this singer-songwriter, producer, session man and so much more started back in 1957 when he was just 14 years old. In recent years and in failing health, he was increasingly reclusive, but back in 1985, I was able to do a rare interview with him.

Although he was typically laconic, he was willing (sometimes with wry humor) to touch on the many facets and collaborations of his career: Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Spector, B.B. King, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the Concert for Bangladesh, and his home state of Oklahoma. He also played a couple of tunes: "Big Boss Man" and his classic, "A Song for You." Please enjoy these highlights.