On Sunday, June 11 in Todd Grove Park at 6 p.m., Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah and KWNE-FM will present the first concert of the 15th annual Sundays in the Park concert series, reported the Daily Journal. The California show will include an artist long admired by Elton, Leon Russell.
The artist has released four Gold Albums, and had a hand in many other chart hits. For instance, Leon was instrumental in some of Joe Cocker's biggest songs, and The Carpenters struck gold with his composition, Superstar.
Born in 1942, Leon began as a night club piano player in Oklahoma at the age of 14. He and his band were hired to back Jerry Lee Lewis at Cain's ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Lewis was so impressed that he hired Leon's band for two years of road tours. Relocating to Los Angeles just before its rise to prominence as rock's capital in the 1960's, Leon became part of the "Wrecking Crew," an elite group of studio musicians which included Glen Campbell. Leon eventually produced and played on sessions with Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike and Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and many others.
In the seventies, quite a few performers opened for Leon, with Elton, ZZ Top, Willie Nelson and Charlie Daniels among them.
Today, Leon is once again wearing the hat of record label owner with the launching of Leon Russell Records. Kicking off the label's release schedule in September of 2001 were three titles from Leon: Signature Songs, a collection of acoustic piano/vocal recordings of his classics; Guitar Blues, an album which was previously only available in Japan; and the re-release of Face In The Crowd. In 2002 on LRR, came the self titled release by Leon's son Teddy Jack, and Moonlight and Love Songs, which features Leon singing standards, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.