Published Nov 13, 2016Leon Russell, a songwriter and producer whose career stretches all the way back to the 1950s, has passed away. He was 74 and died at home in Nashville.
An announcement on his website reveals, "Leon Russell died on Nov. 13, 2016 in Nashville at the age of 74. His wife said that he passed away in his sleep." He had bypass surgery this summer after suffering a heart attack.
Born in Tulsa, OK, Russell began his career as a diverse session musician who played rock, blues, gospel and country. He was known for notable collaborations with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Joe Cocker and many more.
He performed country under the name Hank Wilson in addition to releasing music under his own name. In 2010, he and Elton John teamed up for an album called The Union.
Russell was a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and George Benson won the 1976 Grammy for Record of the Year with his cover of Russell's "This Masquerade." Russell was a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.