Rocker Rus­sell dies at age 74

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES -

Leon Rus­sell, who per­formed, sang and pro­duced some of rock ‘n’ roll’s top records, has died. He was 74.

Rus­sell’s wife, Jan Bridges, said in a state­ment that her hus­band died in his sleep Sun­day at their Nashville home. She said Rus­sell had heart by­pass surgery in July and had been plan­ning on re­sum­ing tour­ing in Jan­uary.

His fi­nal per­for­mance was July 10 in Nashville.

Be­sides his mu­sic, Rus­sell was known for his strik­ing ap­pear­ance: wispy white hair halfway down his back and that cov­ered much of his face.

“A true pa­tri­arch has been lost,” said Beau Char­ron, Rus­sell’s gui­tar and pedal steel player, said in a state­ment. “Leon Rus­sell fa­thered many mu­si­cians and fans thru life and love with his mu­sic. On his own terms. My years with him have shaped me in pro­found ways, and I am heart­bro­ken to lose my men­tor and friend.”

Tributes poured in from en­ter­tain­ers who ap­pre­ci­ated Rus­sell’s gospel-infused south­ern boo­gie pi­ano rock, blues and coun­try mu­sic.

On Twit­ter, Cat Stevens wrote that Rus­sell was “a great in­flu­ence and song­writer.” Char­lie Daniels said Rus­sell “left a lot of great mu­sic be­hind.” And Richard Marx tweeted: “What an ex­tra­or­di­nary mes­sen­ger of beauty he was.”


Leon Rus­sell, right, is greeted by El­ton John on the stage dur­ing their joint con­cert at the Hol­ly­wood Pal­la­dium in Los An­ge­les in 2010.

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