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Tuesday, 22 November 2016


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Burn Down The Mission was my Elton John song. Didn't care for many others.

You should also find the piece on CBS Sunday Morning, from two weeks ago. He gives a tour of his collection in his Atlanta apartment. He really does love photography. Not sure that it needs the ornate gilded frames he fancies.

Leon's soulful Stranger in a Strange Land is one of my favorite songs ever, and (I must confess) his wife Claudia Lanier also left an indelible impression on my young self when I first saw her singing backup for the Stones in a bikini top and hip huggers.

Old rednecks and rockers remember him too.

Here's some comments from other studio musicians. If you don't want to hear Cher say the eff-word, don't listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d9kwTEAK9o

Here's Leon Russell doing Honky Tonk Woman. Mary McCreary, the back-up singer, in the halter-top was his wife https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRlkIunIU-c

Very nice on Leon, my brother saw Jerry Lee Lewis last year Scotland, he still rolling.

Hi Mike,
Greetings from Australia.
I agree with the comments re Elton. Loved his early music, and love his devotion to collecting fine photography.

BTW, is Leon's kid called Honey and Coco, or is there two kids - Honey AND Coco.

Not sure which it is. If the latter, then surely this is prime example of the need for the Oxford Comma.


Other musical greats who have died qute recently: Leonard Cohen, Mose Allison.

I always loved Russell.

Check out this photo of him in the house band of the TV pop show Shindig, before his trademark beard. You can tell it’s him by those eyes!


And here’s that trademark voice coming out of that clean-shaven face — so weird!



Oh, and you neglected to mention his odd, psychedelic/cajun/blues early albums with Marc Benno as The Asylum Choir. Strange and wonderful. I've still got the original album with the controversial toilet paper cover.

I saw Elton back in 1971 or so at the Filllmore East in NYC (around the corner from my college). Late show Friday night, three acts with light show $3.50 in the nosebleed section. Perfect price for the poor college student with a bit left over to get in the mood.

Elton was the headliner. Pre outré clothes and glasses. Just Elton, the piano and his band. He seemed to play forever. Am not sure when he came on stage after the other two acts, but the sun was coming in when we left the venue.

Hopefully the photos will come to the States at some point.

Happy Thanksgiving to Mike and all!

Leon Russell was a member of the Wrecking Crew. The Wrecking Crew were studio musicians who played & made a lot of Pop Music in the 60's.
There is a great documentary of them that is available from Netflix. The groups didn't make the music, these men & women did. Leon is interviewed in the film. Highly informative.

I was very sad to hear of the death of Leon Russell, a musician I have listened to and admired since I was a teenager in the 60's. He was just so talented, and what a voice! I recommend listening to the song "Hummingbird", or even his version of "Delta Lady" both of which he wrote. He was also a member of the "Wrecking Crew" which was the studio band on dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hit records by many artists from the 60's that would surprise you. Glen Campbell also played with them. They played the actual instruments on the hits by The Byrds, The Beach Boys (including, I believe, "Good Vibrations"), and many, many others. I highly recommend the documentary about them that came out a year or so ago, it's really great.

I have to say that I surely wish I was going to London. I would absolutely love to see the exhibition of Elton John's collection. What a great way to spend some of those rock and roll bucks! Can you imagine what the insurance policy must cost to cover the collection in his house?

I probably first heard Leon Russell back when he was runnng Joe Cocker's band. Poor Joe got totally blown off the stage by Leon. Ever since, I've been a fan (No, not because he blew Joe off the stage). And, also ever since then, I've been regularly amazed to get the reply, "Who?" when I ask someone if they like Leon Russell.

If you haven't seen it, have a look at "The Wrecking Crew". Amazing, mostly totally unknown (except to other musicians) studio musicians.

This is my second comment here for the year.

Leon Russell was a musical treasure for many of us of a certain age and inclination. I missed seeing him in Luckenbach a few months ago. I spend many weekends there shooting Texas musicians and characters but for some reason that one slipped by unnoticed. My loss.

Mose Allison too. I need a break from 2016.

Speaking of music, have you had a chance to check out the PBS series Soundbreaking? You can find all the previously aired episodes on the PBS site. I've just finished episode three and love the series so far.

Episode 1

My bad- c.d.embrey is correct. Mary McCreary was his wife!

I was sure sorry to see Leon go. I saw him with ze Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, counting off 1,2,3,4 for each song in that OK twang. He seemed ageless, recording and touring until the end.

RIP Leon Russell, a musician's musician.

There is a lot of photography happening in the clip for Elton John song "Nikita"

"Other musical greats who have died qute recently: Leonard Cohen, Mose Allison.

Posted by: BJ"

It occurred to me recently that I see a lot more names in the obituaries that I recognise because I, and I suspect many of the posters here, have reached an age where those we admired (musicians etc), being a generation ahead, are now getting a lot closer to the top of the Grim Reaper's to-do list than is comfortable. :(

Beware of Darkness written by George Harrison is my favorite Leon Russell recording. Clearly he was a big part of the pop-music ecosystem for many years.

It's easy to dismiss or ignore Elton John's musical and commercial accomplishments. One characteristic of long-lived musicians is their ability to evolve and continue to produce interesting high quality music. The old stuff holds up and the new is varied, fresh and often plays to a new and younger audience.

Bennie and the Jets played in the background during my first slow dance and long kiss with my first girlfriend. It was a sweet moment.

Did not realize how big a hit Leon took for his interracial marriage (probably no picnic for Mary either), had hoped things were a bit more "progressive" in the music scene- but that's what I get for being optimistic.

Loving is well worth seeing; it is very low key and very much not your heroic, Hollywood production. A simple love story (made complicated) of two very reserved people who dared to love each other in a very powerful way.

I work at the Oklahoma History Center and from what I have been told, we have been fortunate enough to be gifted his archive along with some other collections regarding his life and music. A satellite museum in Tulsa, called OK Pop will open in a few years and will feature Leon prominently.

A Song for You

Here's something interesting. Leon Russell and Glen Campbell, 1983

Jeez, I really didn't want to post a third link, but I just found this.

Homewood Session 1970-12-05

Besides being the best Leon concert I've ever heard, it's also a fascinating artifact of a brief period of time when some local television became more open to new ideas and stopped pandering to its audience (or sponsors, more like).

Hi....saw Leon several times....snuck in my mamyia sekor 1000 dtl....and a vivitar 135 lens....once you were on the concert hall no one would take your camera away...just no flash......ectachrome ...pushed to 1600...half the photos were of leon...half were of claudia...WOW...what a show. .didn't know I had really been in a gospel revival show until years later.

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