The former home of renowned songwriter Leon Russell is now on the market. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, Leon collaborated with The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elton John, among others, before he passed in 2016.
At 6,120 square feet, the home is a marvel. But its history goes far beyond its four bedrooms, customized elevator, and gargoyle anointed terraces. It’s a place of stories and life that was as magical as the man who last called it home.
The house was originally built in 1992 for Dennis Linde, another prolific songwriter. Dennis was best known for the 1972 Elvis Presley Hit “Burning Love” but was also the mastermind behind songs recorded by many other artists including Roy Orbison, Tanya Tucker, Roger Miller, Don Williams, The Judds, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, and Garth Brooks.
After his death in 2006, Dennis’ wife Pam knew exactly who should start their own chapter in this wonderful home. While they had never met the Russells, she felt that Leon was the right fit to continue the legacy of memories made there.
Leon’s wife, Jan Bridges, recalls, “It felt like church—like a bit of magic.”
She still remembers the first day they saw the house. They’d been looking for a place where they could bring their family and friends and there was a true community feel from the moment they walked in. Jan recalls that she was sold on a house they’d visited earlier, but their real estate agent encouraged them to see one last home… a home that was specifically selected for them by a stranger. As soon as they pulled into the driveway, they turned to each other and said, “This is it.”
Of course, one of the highlights of the home is Leon’s studio, which remains in the same style in which he decorated it, a jungle theme from his travels around the world. While Leon recorded music in the house, it was more than that for the Russell family. It was the place where he and his wife fell in love once again when the nest was empty.
From the Koi pond in the back, where Leon and his wife would sit for hours, to the studio where Leon would create entire songs right in front of you, it quickly became the house of their dreams. In Jan’s words, “We never got tired of looking at that house when we pulled in.”
The first-floor library holds a special place in Jan’s heart and memory. As soon as you walk in, you’ll see the statement piece: a beautiful, enormous globe. So enormous that the room was originally built around it, because it couldn’t fit through the doors. Towards the end of their time in the house, the library became home to most of Leon’s recording sessions with Mark Lambert as they worked on his final album, On a Distant Shore.
Outside of the globe, the Russells’ house was decorated with pieces that each held a story of their own. The elevator walls are still adorned with photos of famous musicians and actors, each chosen by Leon as someone he admired.
Leon’s wife remembers, “He was a serious shopper, for unusual things.” After being on the road, Leon would return home with any number of things for the house. A life-size wicker bicycle, a stone-encrusted carousel horse, or a giant swordfish, soon found a place on the Russells’ walls.
Many may find it hard to believe he felt so comfortable in a home that looked to be from the pages of a fairytale. But Leon’s wife thinks it was just right for her whimsical husband. In Jan’s words, “People didn’t understand him because he had a look, and they thought he was one particular way. He was really just a teddy bear. He was so lovable, just a gentleman.”
To learn more about the home, contact Benchmark agent Diane Wilhoit at our office 615-371-1544 or go to www.leonrussellhomeforsale.com. Qualified Buyers Only for pre-views of the actual home.