Russell, a member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, performed and recorded with a wide-ranging roster of performers including
Claude Russell Bridges was born in Lawton, Okla., on April 2, 1942. He began learning piano at the age of four; by his early teens, he was playing in Tulsa nightclubs. Following his high school graduation, Russell toured with Jerry Lee Lewis for a few months, then moved to Los Angeles and found work as a session musician. As part of the Wrecking Crew, a collective of elite studio musicians, Russell played piano on a number of hit songs.
He was a captivating live performer. In 1971, he wowed crowds at the star-studded Concert for Bangladesh with a scorching medley of Jumpin' Jack Flash and Youngblood.
Russell's A Song for You, which appeared on his eponymous, 1970 debut album, has been recorded by more than three dozen artists (
He released his last solo studio album, Life Journey, in 2014.
In July, Russell suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery, but had resumed playing live shows. He was scheduled to perform Tuesday in Pensacola.
This story is in progress and will be updated.
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