Leon Russell dies at age 74

leonrussellThe music world is mourning the loss of another great today as musician/singer/songwriter Leon Russell has passed away at age 74.

Russell’s wife said in a statement released on his website that he passed away in his sleep overnight. Russell had experienced health issues in the later years of his life, including a heart attack in July of 2016.

Born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2, 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma, Russell is known for his work as a studio musician and through his prolific work as a solo artist. Russell recorded 37 live and studio albums and worked with musicians such as Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Doris Day, Elton John, Glen Campbell, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, The Byrds, Barbra Streisand, The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, The Band, B.B. King, and Bob Dylan. Among the notable works Russell performed on were the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, and “Live With Me” by The Rolling Stones.

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Russell had a particular influence on Elton John, who inducted Russell into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

“My darling Leon Russell passed away last night,” John posted on Twitter Sunday. “He was a mentor, inspiration & so kind to me. I loved him and always will.”

Some of Russell’s most famous solo songs include “A Song For You,” which has been covered by a wide range of artists including Ray Charles, Donna Summer, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera, The Carpenters, and the Temptations; “Tight Rope,” which was his highest charting U.S. single (11th); and “Lady Blue.” Russell is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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