“He’s on a Mount Rushmore of Oklahoma rock ‘n’ roll,” Oklahomans remember Leon Russell

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OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma lost one of its greatest.

Legendary musician Leon Russell passed away Sunday in his sleep.

He was 74.

Russell had a long career and legacy from home sweet Oklahoma to Los Angeles.

A musician, producer and songwriter.

Russell wore many hats.

"What's so amazing about him is he did so many different things. He wasn't just a musician. He wrote music. He wasn't just a recording artist. He engineered. He was into the technology behind the music,” said Director of OKPOP Museum Jeff Moore.

Moore knows a lot about Russell.

He's been working on exhibits featuring him for the upcoming OKPOP Museum.

Born in Lawton, the Oklahoma native went on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis when he was just a teen.

Russell then went on to be a studio musician mostly playing the piano.

"He was part of the Wrecking Crew that did so many albums with the Beach Boys and even Frank Sinatra, Sonny and Cher and just all of these bands,” Moore said.

In the 70s, he built a recording studio in Tulsa with a slew of talented musicians coming to the state to record.

Tom Petty, George Harrison and Bob Dylan to name a few.

"Right there alongside Bob Dylan and John Lennon and Ringo Starr and all of these huge names in rock ‘n’ roll. They're playing on his records. He's playing on their records. It gives Oklahoma this kind of feather in their cap,” said Ryan Lacroix, radio host on KOSU.

Russell was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

The Grammy winning artist played on dozens of albums ranging from country, blues and pop.

"His legacy is going to be wide. It's going to be in a lot of different areas."

KOSU will do a special tribute to Russell Thursday night.

"'We're doing a Leon Russell retrospective. Two hours of all Leon Russell music."

They said it's the least they can do for the musician.

"As a fan, you have to say he's on a Mount Rushmore of Oklahoma rock ‘n’ roll. It's him. It's Wanda Jackson. It's Bob Wills. It's Woody Guthrie. It's the basis of rock ‘n’ roll in Oklahoma."

And, just like the other Oklahoma greats past and present, Russell's records will continue to grace turntables.

For more information about the OKPOP Museum, visit www.okpop.org.

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