The last year has undoubtedly been a tragic year for the entertainment industry; musicians & music fans alike. We’ve lost so many pioneering artists who have shaped our lives with their gift of music. I want to say most have been a shock but ultimately time will get us all.
The world’s most recent loss of Leon Russell has left a gaping hole in our house especially & I feel myself contemplating that age old “what is life?” question again. I always TRY to look for the positive in situations, even in death which can of course be hard. In this instance I feel we’ve all been blessed to have had Leon’s music which will be remembered forever. As fans we’re blessed with the technology to listen & look at him in the same way as we did when he were alive. Our hope that we might ever see Leon play live or meet him is gone, but it also means that our “ideal Leon” is still preserved in our minds.
It’s a crazy thing when a musician passes on, their energy remains through us & their “legacy” becomes solid gold. The lessons that person will continue to teach through their music suddenly becomes scripture. I worked in a record store for years, when someone passed away there was always this mad rush for people to buy as many of their albums as they could. I always felt like it cheapened that artist’s contribution; almost like no one cared until they were dead and then it was a competition to be the biggest fan. Now that Leon has passed I pray that people will run out & buy his records, other records he played on (there are so damn many!) & records of the bands he influenced. It will be like an extra little gift from him that keeps the industry kickin’ because he is ingrained in so many genres and sampled all over the place!
My Leon love comes from the man I dig most in the world – my dude Luke. We met at a Halloween party 9 years ago. I’m a huge fan of Dr John & somehow started nervously rambling about him with Luke at the party. I was super excited because at that point it wasn’t very often people knew who I was talking about when I’d gush about him. At the party I learnt that my love for Dr John equalled Luke’s love for Leon so needless to say our friendship solidified, grew into love and over the years our love of both artists has been very present in our relationship. We knew Leon had been unwell after a heart attack in June but when I woke up yesterday to the news my heart sunk. Not only for the loss of Leon, the thought of his mourning family and friends but also for Luke. He never got the chance to see Leon live and I so wish he could have.
No doubt Leon is with his friends in the great beyond! Of course we have no rush to get there but when we do the tunes will be stellar! …What a dude!