Leon Russell

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Elton John
  • Category:
    Musical Excellence
Leon Russell


"Leon’s work as a musician, songwriter, and producer, touched millions of rock and roll fans. Revered by his peers, Leon was an iconoclast who easily crossed the genres of rock, blues, gospel and country. His massive range impacted the work of the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Elton John—to name a few. He was a soulful artist who was 'always singing a song for you.'" -Greg Harris, president and CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame Essay


David Fricke

The names and stories come in steady, unhurried succession through a deep, gritty drawl, like a lazy river rolling over a bed of rattling stones—during lunch, between takes at a recording session, and back in his Nashville living room as Leon Russell sits in a padded-leather lounge chair, idly stroking his snow-white beard as he talks.

“I don’t think of my story or history,” the singer-pianist-songwriter-producer, now 68, claims at one point. “It reminds me of my mortality, and I don’t like to think about that.” He adds a rumbling laugh for emphasis—then keeps going.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2011
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