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Leon Russell at 71: On the Road

By: Kevin Winter
Getty Images Entertainment

Happy birthday to Leon Russell, born April 2nd, 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Leon is currently touring the states and will head to Japan in May.

Leon got his first taste of commercial success as a songwriter back in the day when when Joe Cocker recorded the song “Delta Lady” for his 1969 album, Joe Cocker!

Many of us remember Leon as being an integral part of George Harrison’s relief benefit, The Concert for Bangladesh, in 1971.

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Leon disappeared from prominence for many years until Elton John looked him up to be part of a new project.

Cameron Crowe directed a 2012 documentary chronicling the collaboration between the two artists called “The Union” after the 2010 album of the same name that resulted.

The story, according to, is as follows:

After 38 years of not seeing or speaking to Leon Russell, Elton John listens to Russellʼs greatest hits album while on safari in Africa with his partner David Furnish. He is moved to tears. Distraught at the thought that Russell – whom John considers one of his greatest musical influences – has seemingly fallen into obscurity, he vows to contact his idol and propose that they collaborate on an album together.

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