I am not a great film fan. I rarely go to the cinema. When I do I hope the seats are uncomfortable so I won’t nod off. I snored through Lawrence of Arabia in London's West End -probably the best thing. Yet with every rule there is an exception or a number of exceptions.
For instance I have seen Cabaret twice in the cinema and numerous times on TV. I saw Clockwork Orange four times, once in French in Paris. Yet the record of my viewing has to be Mad Dogs and Englishman – the film of Joe Cocker’s tour. I don’t know how often I saw it, but it was usually with the Wend in tow, and included at least one late night showing at the cinema in Surbiton in Surrey. So keen I was.
Although the film revolved around the Joe Cocker tour the star for me was singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist Leon Russell. He’d previously written Delta Lady which was a hit for Cocker in 1969.I revered Leon Russell bought his ‘Leon Russell’ album with ‘A song for you’ and also 1972 album ‘Carney’ which featured the number ‘This Masquerade’.
Now here’s the thing. In the film Mad Dogs and Englishmen Russell wore a top hat and had silvery grey hair. The same on his album covers. Hence as a trendy young man about Chelsea (and Swiss Cottage) I presumed he was an old timer hanging on.
So today I thought I had better check him out to see when he passed away. Well it was a pleasant surprise to find he is still with us but a might shock to learn he is only seven years older than me. Seven years! And whilst yes I did have premature designer grey hair (thanks again to the Wend and the all-star hairdresser Winston) he seemed to be wearing less well than me at the time.
Over the years Leon Russell has worked with the who’s who of musicians and singers Joe Cocker, The Carpenters, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Eric Clapton, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Badfinger, Frank Sinatra, The Band, Glen Campbell and The Rolling Stones to name but a few.
Last year Leon Russell wrote songs with Elton John and Bernie Taupin which was recorded in February and will be released about now. I will buy it!
But, come on, seven years!