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Bruce Hornsby

"Leon Russell (along with Elton John and later Keith Jarrett) was the inspiration that made me interested in and then consumed with playing piano and writing songs. He was completely unique, a deep soulful presence who had a groove and feel on the piano that was unmatched. He always wanted to write standards, songs that would become part of the Great American Songbook, and he did just that, writing such songs as “A Song For You” and “This Masquerade” that will be sung forever. But my favorite Leon was the wide open, incredibly joyous gospel-charged rockers that made his concerts so transformative and amazing."




“It was the most magical of times because here was my idol accepting me. Actually, he could eat me for breakfast [playing piano]. I came from England and being a huge fan of someone like him and to have him accept me and kind of take me under his wing and be really fantastic to me the whole time. It meant the whole world to me that someone could show me that generosity that you admired so much. It helped validate me by saying, "Well if he thinks I’m alright then I must be alright because he’s my hero."




"Leon came down to the first Fourth of July picnic that I had. And it was the first time that the rock ‘n’ roll crowd had mixed in with the cowboy crowd--the hippies and the rednecks--we were called. So, thanks to Leon, all those wild things started happening."

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