Pianist, singer and songwriter Leon Russell has passed away, according to a message posted on his Facebook page. He was 74 and died in his sleep at his home in Nashville.
Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and came up in the Tulsa, Oklahoma music scene. He moved to Los Angeles in the late Fifties where he became a much in demand session musician, and started Shelter Records with Denny Cordell. In addition to his own solo work, he’s best known for performing and working with Delaney & Bonnie, and with Joe Cocker, notably on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, album and documentary. He was a master songwriter; among his most well known songs are “This Masquerade,” covered by George Benson, and “A Song For You” that covered dozens of times over the years. He also co-wrote one of The Carpenters’ biggest hits, “Superstar,” with Bonnie Bramlett, and played keyboards and arranged “This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys.
Rest in peace to “the master of space and time.”
Below, listen to a selection of some of his best songs.