Deep Dive: Leon & Mary Russell, THE WEDDING ALBUM
Today we remember the late, great Leon Russell, who – after a long career as a singer, songwriter, and multi-faceted musician – left us on this day in 2016. In his honor, we’re taking a look back at the first of two albums Russell recorded with his first wife, Mary McCreary Russell. Yes, that’s right, we said she was his first wife, a fact which makes it a bit unfortunate that their first LP together was entitled THE WEDDING ALBUM...and, no, their second and final collaboration was not entitled THE DIVORCE ALBUM, smart aleck!
Mary McCreary was Russell’s backup singer, and in the wake of the release of his album WILL O’ THE WISP, the two got married and decided to release an album together to kick off his new label, Paradise Records. Russell wrote most of the album’s songs, but he and Mary penned one together – “Love’s Supposed To Be That Way” – and produced all but one song on the album: “Daylight,” which was produced by the man who wrote it, Mr. Bobby Womack. Oh, and there’s also a very special guest on handclaps: Teddy Jack Eddy, a pseudonym for a strapping young actor by the name of Gary Busey.
There was a fair amount of buzz around the releasing of THE WEDDING ALBUM, thanks partly to the couple’s marriage, although it certainly didn’t hurt when they were selected as the musical guest for the May 15, 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live. In the end, the album actually cracked the top 40 of the Billboard 200, climbing to #34 and spawning a minor hit single with “Rainbow in Your Eyes” (#52). Would that Leon and Mary’s marriage and seen as much success...
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