Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges, April 2, 1942) is an American musician and songwriter, who has recorded as a session musician, sideman, and maintained a solo career in music.
On September 11, 2015, Russell joined alumni, Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear, Chris Stainton and other members of the 1970 Joe Cocker Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour for a special tribute concert to Joe Cocker organized by the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Original tour photographer, Linda Wolf documented the reunion and performance. A full documentary of the reunion and performance will be released early 2016, directed by Jesse Lauter and Jojo Pennebaker, son of D.A. Pennebaker.
Pixies vocalist Black Francis credits Russell with influencing his vocal style: “I realize there’s a certain kind of vocalizing I do that takes its cue from Leon Russell. He sang in a southern accent but it was very blown-out and exaggerated, very free and loose.”