Leon Russell Joins Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Elton John congratulates Leon Russell at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Acclaimed Nashville musician Leon Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night (3/14), part of a class that includes fellow luminaries Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love.

Russell, who has contributed keys to albums by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, and projects from producer Phil Spector, joined the Hall under the “sideman” category.

During the star-studded event at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, Russell performed his “A Song For You,” accompanied by John Mayer on guitar.

Leon Russell. Click to read his bio.

From the podium, Russell thanked collaborator Elton John, bringing tears to the eyes of the British songman. The two paired for the acclaimed album, The Union. Russell explained that John “found me in a ditch at the side of the highway of life and took me up to the high stages with big audiences, and treated me like a king.”

John described Russell as his idol, adding that when they first met in the 1970s, that Russell looked like “something from outer space.”

Also joining the Hall were record execs Art Rupe of Specialty Records, and Jac Holzman of Elektra Records.

The television event airs Sunday night, March 20 at 9 PM on Fuse TV.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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