Leon Russell's association with A&M Records began years before he became an artist on the label. One of his earliest associations was as a sutdio musician in August 1964 when he played piano on several tracks for Herb Alpert's South Of the Border album under his real name Russell Bridges. Leon continued to appear on Alpert's recording dates for the next few years.
The Leon Russell single "Misty" and "Cindy" was recorded on February 13, 1964 at Gold Star.
In 1969, Leon was one of the producers, arranger, keyboard player and guitarist on Joe Cocker's album Joe Cocker.
In May 1970, on his own Shelter Records label in the U.S., he released his first solo album Leon Russell. A&M Records, Ltd. acquired the distribution rights for Shelter Records in the U.K. and Europe.
Russell organized the band and led the tour for Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" tour in 1971. The tour played in 48 cities performing 65 shows from March until May. The tour was filmed and recorded resulting in the first rock documentary and a live double album. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard album chart and was certified platinum (sales of over one million copies) in the U.S.
Leon's best selling album was Carney. Released in 1972, it contained the single "Tight Rope" that peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later that year, his Leon Live (the August 28, 1972 concert in Long Beach, CA) reached #9.
A year later on August 31, 1973 Hank Wilson's Back was released.
In 1975 Will O' the Wisp came out with the #14 single "Lady Blue." The album was certified gold.
* NOTE: Leon Russell's proper name Russell Bridges appears in this site's CREDITS feature.