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2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Leon Russell

Leon Russell

1
  • Year:
    2011
  • Inducted by:
    Elton John
  • Category:
    Award for Musical Excellence
Leon Russell

Hall of Fame Essay

2011

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.

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