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"Leon Russell" (born "Claude Russell Bridges" on April 2 1942 in Lawton, Oklahoma) is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Russell attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Known mostly as a session musician, Russell has played with artists as varied as Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Spector and The Rolling Stones. With a solo career spanning the genres of rock, blues, and gospel, Russell began his musical career at 14, lying about his age to land a gig playing backup at a Tulsa nightclub to play with Ronnie Hawkins behind Jerry Lee Lewis. Two years later, after settling in Los Angeles, he studied guitar with James Burton, and worked sessions with Dorsey Burnette and Glen Campbell.
After becoming a part of Phil Spector's studio group, Russell played backup on many of the most popular hits of the 1960s, including The Byrds, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and Herb Alpert. He also served as Snuff Garrett's assistant on numerous productions. Russell built his own recording studio in 1967, and recorded his first LP, ''Look Inside the Asylum Choir'', in a collaboration with Marc Benno.