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Leon Redbone

While his gravelly baritone and omnipresent fedora, dark glasses, and Groucho Marx mustache made him one of the more distinct and recognizable characters in popular music, little is known about the neo-vaudeville crooner Leon Redbone. Throughout his career, he steadfastly refused to divulge any information about his background or personal life; according to legend, Redbone's desire to protect his privacy was so intense that when he was approached by the famed producer John Hammond, the contact number he gave was not his own phone, but that of a dial-a-joke service.

Because Redbone first emerged as a performer in Toronto during the 1970s, he was believed to be Canadian; his work, a revival of pre-World War II ragtime, jazz, and blues sounds, recalled the work of performers ranging from Jelly Roll Morton and Bing Crosby to blackface star Emmett Miller. He made his recording debut in 1976 with On the Track, which featured legendary jazz violinist Joe Venuti as well as singer/songwriter Don McLean; his 1977 follow-up Double Time even reached the U.S. Top 40 charts, largely on the strength of his frequent appearances on television's Saturday Night Live.

After 1978's Champagne Charlie, Redbone began recording only sporadically; following 1981's Branch to Branch, he waited four years before reentering the studio to cut Red to Blue. Invariably, his albums featured guest appearances from an eclectic cast of luminaries: while 1987's Christmas Island included a cameo by Dr. John, 1994's Whistling in the Wind included duets with Ringo Starr and Merle Haggard and 2001's Any Time featured contributions from such jazz luminaries as guitarist Frank Vignola, reedman Ken Peplowski, and bassist Jay Leonhart. Despite his low profile, Redbone has also earned a certain measure of fame as a fixture in various television advertising campaigns. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

He used to do Bud commercials. . . . f o r all you do, this Bud's for you
the last of the troubadors, perhaps....s a w him play at an outdoor arts fest in StPete FL in the late 90s.... cool show...love hos voice and style.
Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day ofyour life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is scary cause it really works
Right?
alvarado.vil m a m a r i s o l
part 2. he was playing right there in the bar that very nite. a tiny little room. we bought tix and waited. the music was fantastic, so was the crowd. he was as charming as can be. we laffed tween songs. a camera was pulled out. he said gimme dat camera, took a picture of the crowd and handed it back. we had so much fun we immediately bought tix for the next nite. and that nite was just as good as the first! one of my fondest memories
alvarado.vil m a m a r i s o l
oh man....20 or so years ago...is that even possible? my brother and i stopped at the Roosevelt hotel on Hollywood Blvd. in the lobby a man with dark glasses and a mustache and a fedora was picking an appetizer off a plate from a roving waiter. my brother and i looked at each other, is that? could it be? he caught us looking and his eyebrows did a quick jump off his sunglasses, he smiled as he popped the toothpick in his mouth and disappeared. we scrambled to find out if and where he was playing
I got his first album when I was 11 years old in 1977. I still listen to it.
In the late '70s, I met him once backstage at a place called PB Scott's in Blowing Rock, NC and showed him my Coon-Sanders Nighthawks Club card and he was most impressed by a 22 yr old presenting him with such...he played a 90 minute show along with his tuba player...def i n i t e l y an eccentric talent, but super musically. It remains a very memorable moment.
Been awhile since I heard this guy... Thanks Pandora
Shine on Harvest Moon on Saturday Night Live...been a fan ever since...
This is really a sad one that what its supposed to be very sad. He's really good at it. :o))
saw live in huntington beach Calif. music an cannabis was all great
Great work........ .
I have been trying to capture Leon's I want to be seduced for about six months now...but it only happens when I'm nap'pin or nod'din an a revere till I find a women who wouldn't mind seduce'in me.
Roma
jammad9.5
People would say Leon was really Frank Zappa doing another act.
letskeepinto u c h 1
must be nice to be able in this day and age to have that kind of privacy very unusual!
dlambert489
HOLY CRAP MR. BELVEDERE!!!
HAS A STYLE ALL OF HIS OWN <<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>> > >
...been playing / writing most my life. Have always loved and played his tuneage. Big influence, and always got attention! Only Leon ! Mark Fallin
nancynel1
A great concert some yrs. ago at The Coach House in Capistrano Beach, Ca. Always liked his cool, laid back demeanor.
My Ladyfriend and I saw im perform at the Chocolate Church in Bath, Maine in the winter of 2011. What a delightful experience! I have been a fan since the 70's, but had no idea what a grand raconteur he is until I saw him live.
snkvch
My wife and I and another couple went to hear Leon Redbone at a small club in Lakewood Ohio. We got there about 2 hours early and saw him walk in. We bought him a drink and he spoke to us for about 20 minutes. As unique a conversation a l i s t as he is a musician. Until that night I only knew him for his singing. He is an amazing guitarist. He comes to this club every year. I cant wait to see him again.
I like what he does to music when he arranges it around his style.
He is the real deal in music.
Loooove the voice.
1luckytexan
Got him to sign my On the Track album cover in Dallas recently- he still tours, but by car, he was involved in the crash of a small plane once and refuses to fly.
jmitch11154
My amazing yellow lab, Cosmo, passed in October. Last week we adopted a 3 yr old half-yello lab, half-Redbone coon hound. The Redbone is overwhelming l y dominant. He has a beautiful soul. Can you guess what his first name is?
I sure wish he was my Uncle Leon.
pookie12
I've been to every show he has done in the Atlanta area. He's the best when he's sober..after that he's just great.
Even his f*rts smell sweet.
No one does Shine On Harvest Moon like Leon!!!
Saw him in concert at a small club in Columbia, SC many years ago ... what a marvel he is.
chris.donahu e 9 0
Saw him on Beale Street, Memphis in 2007. The show was incredible.
great
The genuine article.
Absolutely the best!
Jake says:
I love the way he sings and the way he arranges.
Great musician with a great sense of humor.
glorial1949
Husband likes this artist.
jeffrey4727
Simply elegant.
Leon Is Boss!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
I have heard him live many times, especially at the Philadelphia Folk Festival where one night he was so drunk it was a miracle he finished his set. He still performed with flair and great humor. Troubled genius, carefree prankster? Damn good musician for sure.
@ bannerbob-I loved the Golden Bear! Saw many great acts there-James Cotton, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Hoyt Axton, Dillards. Leon Redbone was playing and someone let out a "Whoop" - LR stops and says "Calm yourself...T h e r e ' s no need to get excited." Got a great laugh.
bps48
Fun music. This guy has real style!
I first saw and hear him in NE Pennsylvania , in a college auditorium. His voice was so unique and likeable, I've been a fan of his since then.
joepitman
Leon is the coolest, and one very talented performer. I love his song, She ain't Rose.
I recieved about 5 old whiskey boxes of old vinyl records after the passing of my mother.
I had been studying the guitar for about 2 yrs., when one day ,I took a look through some of the old records and found a copy of "Double Time". I was getting back into old "Delta Blues" at the time, and when I heard Leon's voice and style, I thought to myself, "Oh yeah"!! So I whent and shared it with my music teacher and friend, when he looked at me and said, "I knew him. We used to do shows together. But
I was towing advertising banners for the old Golden Bear pub in Huntington Beach. Rick Babaracki always offered me free tickets and this time I took him up on the offer. I asked who is this Leon Redbone? "Oh, he's sort of rock and roll. Don't know much about him. Just comes in to his dressing room and doesn't talk to anyone, and leaves as quietly after the show". So I sat there in the front row about 10' from him and was mesmerized for an entire hour. He never looked at the audience or re
I remember him now on SNL, sitting on a three legged stool, dreessed all in a white suit with vest and a white fedora, with his guitar over his crossed legs singing standards. I could not for the life of me remember his name, as I wanted to add him to our playlist in the labs. Today I was looking for something else by Willie Nelson and Nora Jones, and there was his name! I'm so happy to reconnect with this remarkable fellow.
I've been a fan of Leon since high school in the late '70's and brought his music with me to college; door open, my peers would snap their fingers as they walked past my room. Few of my friends and none of my family appreciate his sound but I don't care. Makes me smile every time. Thanks Leon - One guy I would like to meet and share a drink with.
I first discovered Leon Redbone from a movie with Richard Dryfus - the song was called 'I Want To Be Seduced'. Dryfus did a 'campy' version on SNL, I was hooked.
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