Leon Russell Suffers Heart Attack

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Tedesco with former Wrecking Crew pianist & later star in-his-own-right Leon Russell.

Russell with the producer-director of The Wrecking Crew documentary, Denny Tedesco. (Photo courtesy of Denny Tedesco)

Classic rock legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Leon Russell suffered a heart attack during the past week. The news was revealed in a press release from the Oklahoma Historical Society. (Russell was born and raised there.) The announcement indicates that Russell “is in stable condition, and his representatives are optimistic for a full recovery,” noting that he the Grammy winner “is undergoing tests and is scheduled for an upcoming surgery.” His website indicates that the surgery is this week in Nashville, TN.

The musician was in the midst of a summer tour. According to his website, his most recent performance was on July 10 at the City Winery location in Nashville, TN. He was originally scheduled for seven dates in Florida this month but those from July 20 through September 18 are now indicated as “Postponed.” The 74-year-old’s extensive tour is currently scheduled through December 7.

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Leon Russell via FB

Russell via his Facebook page

Russell was inducted into both the Rock Hall and Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. He has earned five Gold albums; his biggest chart success was 1972’s “Tight Rope” which reached #11 on the singles chart but his legacy is that of a musician. He was a member of the collection of Los Angeles-based musicians known as the Wrecking Crew that performed the music on hundreds of successful 1960s songs by acts including Jan and Dean, Frank Sinatra and The Byrds. He became a member of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and organized Joe Cocker’s legendary 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. He also performed at the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh in New York.

Russell’s first solo album was his 1970 self-titled LP. His 1972 album, Carney, reached #2 on the albums chart and included “Tight Rope” and “This Masquerade,” which George Benson covered – and had a huge hit with – in 1976. (It earned Russell a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.)

Russell also co-wrote the Carpenters huge 1971 hit “Superstar” and Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ “Everybody Loves a Clown,” among others.

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Russell has played with a Who’s Who of musicians during his accomplished career including fellow legends Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Glen Campbell and the Rolling Stones, to name a few.

Russell was an influence on Elton John and decades later the pair decided to collaborate on an album, which was delayed when Russell was treated for heart failure. The subsequent 2010 recording, fittingly called The Union, went Gold and the two played a brief tour.

Best Classic Bands Staff

1 Comment so far

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    #1 ADRIANO 20 July, 2016, 09:49

    One of the greatest American Music composers of all time… get weel!!!

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