Leon Russell suffers heart attack

By Gus Bode

Factoid:Rick Derringer will perform in Russell’s place this Saturday at Mugsy’s Entertainment Center. The doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $22.

Leon Russell was scheduled to play at Mugsy’s Entertainment Center this Saturday, but because of a heart attack, he will be unable to perform the show.

Thanks to ’70s rock star Rick Derringer, the show will go on. Derringer, known for hits such as, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo,” started his career in music at the age of 16. He was the lead vocalist/guitarist for “The McCoys,” which recorded the No. 1 hit “Hang On Sloopy” in the summer of 1965.

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In 1969, Derringer collaborated his musical efforts with Johnny Winterin, forming “Johnny Winter And” (“And” referring to “The McCoys”).

Derringer was the writer/producer of Johnny Winter’s “Still Alive and Well” album and player/producer of the hit record “They Only Come Out At Night,” the latter of which featured the No.1 Grammy-nominated hits, “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.”

In 1976, Derringer created “The Derringer Band” and released four albums before returning to his solo career in 1983. Throughout the 1970 and 80s, he appeared on several albums with artists such as Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Barbara Streisand and Kiss.

In the mid-’80s he discovered “Weird Al” Yankovic and began recording and producing Grammy award-winning albums. His productions of the Michael Jackson parodies “Eat It,” and “Fat” have been Yankovic’s most successful recordings.

Through the 1990s Derringer recorded several highly acclaimed blues releases on Shrapnel Records Blues Bureau International and completed a smooth jazz project in 2001.

In 2001 he also formed “The Derringers,” which includes himself, his wife Brenda, his daughter Lory and son Marty. The album, “Aiming For Heaven,” declares the family’s devotion to God.

A release of a live 2002 show will be released in the near future.

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Reporter Jack Piatt can be reached at [email protected]

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