Singer, songwriter and session musician Leon Russell dies at 74

Leon Russell performing in Texas in 2016.
Leon Russell performing in Texas in 2016. (Image credit: Suzanne Cordeiro/REX/Shutterstock)

Acclaimed US singer/songwriter and session musician Leon Russell has died at the age of 74, it's been announced.

Russell recorded more than 30 albums for his own, but it's as a songwriter and sideman that he'll perhaps be best remembered. A Song For You, his most famous work, has been recorded more than 100 times, and he also wrote Delta Lady, a hit for Joe Cocker, for whom he organised the legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour in 1969.

Russell also worked with the likes of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He was introduced at the ceremony by Elton John, who helped to bring Russell back to prominence in 2010 when the pair released their joint album The Union.

Commenting on Facebook following Russell's passing, John said: "My darling Leon Russell passed away last night. He was a mentor, inspiration and so kind to me. Thank God we caught up with each other and made The Union. He got his reputation back and felt fulfilled. I loved him and always will."

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.