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Rock Icon Leon Russell Dead At 74 2016 In Review

01/05/2017
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Leon Russell

(Radio.com) November brought the sad news that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and iconic musician Leon Russell died at the age of 74. He died in his sleep at in Nashville, according to his official Facebook page and his widow Jan Bridges.

Bridges released the following statement: "We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this very, very difficult time. My husband passed in his sleep in our Nashville home. He was recovering from heart surgery in July and looked forward to getting back on the road in January. We appreciate everyone's love and support."

Claude Russell Bridges was born in Lawton, OK on April 2nd, 1942. He began work as session musician in the 1950s and went on to work with artists including Jan and Dean, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, several Phil Spector records and the Byrds.

In 1969, he joined Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, a loose collective that occasionally featured Eric Clapton and George Harrison. In 1969, he co-produced Joe Cocker's Joe Cocker! album, and co-wrote the hit "Delta Lady."

He then put together the band for Cocker's legendary "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour. During that time, he wrote "Superstar," sung by Rita Coolidge and which was later covered by the Carpenters. In 1970, he released his self-titled debut, which featured one of his most popular songs, "A Song for You." Read more and watch Elton John's speech about Russell at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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