And the deaths just keep on coming... Now it's Leon Russell who has gone to join the great celestial jam session, having died in his sleep at the age of 74.
Russell was a massively talented musician who could do just about anything - songwriting, performing, producing, arranging, mentoring, playing sessions, managing the practicalities (he pulled together the epic Mad Dogs and Englishmen phenomenon out of the wreckage of Joe Cocker's Grease Band). He worked with everyone, from Phil Spector to Elton John, B.B. King to George Harrison, the Beach Boys to Bob Dylan (that's his piano on Watching the River Flow and When I Paint My Masterpiece). He wrote A Song for You, which has been covered by more than 100 artists, and was universally revered by his fellow musicians - a supreme example of the 'musician's musician'.
Leon Russell and the Shelter People was one of the albums of my misspent youth - I still have the played-to-death vinyl LP. I have only to hear the opening bars of Stranger in a Strange Land and I'm back in 1971. Here's a link...
Those days are gone - Eheu fugaces labuntur anni - and now so is Leon Russell. RIP.