Claude Russell Bridges (born April 2, 1942), known professionally as Leon Russell, is an American musician and songwriter, who has recorded as a session musician, sideman, and maintained a solo career in music.
Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, Russell attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At this time he was already performing at Tulsa nightclubs. He became a session musician, becoming a keyboardist who has worked with many notable musicians since the 1960s. By the late 1960s, Russell diversified, first to writing songs, and then working his way from gigs as a sideman to joining bands as a full member. Eventually, he began solo recording, although he never ended all his previous roles within the music industry. Russell is among the 2011 inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.