B-Sides: Leon Russell 


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Leon Russell

It seems the deeper we delve into the annals of rock history, the less names like Mick Jagger and John Lennon are the focus. Real music nerds know names like Merry Clayton, whose backing on "Gimme Shelter," complete with trademark squeals and cracks, is maybe one of the single best vocal performances in rock history; or Carol Kaye, whose bass lines contributed to making Pet Sounds the classic it is and made "These Boots Are Made for Walking" a sultry hit for Nancy Sinatra. That's right, it's the oft-ignored folks in the background—the backup vocalists and session musicians—that are getting the love right now from those in the know, and rightly so.

Well, one of Kaye's fellow Wrecking Crew members is heading to town to share his distinct country-influenced piano rock. Leon Russell, who has worked with a handful of Beatles, Ray Charles, Doris Day, Elton John, the Byrds, the Band, Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones and many, many more, hits the Rialto Theatre (318 E. Congress St.) on Friday, June 3. The concerts starts at 8 p.m. with Riley Ethridge Jr. opening the show. Tickets are $30 at the door the day of the show or $28 in advance. You can buy yours and find more information a rialtotheatre.com. It is an all ages event.

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