One would be hard-pressed to locate a rock artist who has consistently kept the kind of high-profile company that Russell has. The guest list for his 1970 debut album featured a couple of Beatles, among others. He was a member of the Delaney and Bonnie band hijacked by Joe Cocker for his celebrated Mad Dogs and Englishmen revue, and a key player at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh.
Besides releasing his own gold-selling solo work, Russell's Shelter Records gave artists as diverse as Tom Petty, Phoebe Snow, and the Gap Band their start -- and also revived the career of blues-guitar great Freddie King. The list of Russell-penned hits includes his own "Tightrope," Cocker's "Delta Lady," the Carpenters' "Superstar," and George Benson's "This Masquerade." The last few years have seen Russell founding a new label, leading an updated band, and scarcely behaving like an oldies act.