UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP SIGNS WORLDWIDE DEAL WITH LEGENDARY SONGWRITER AND ARTIST LEON RUSSELL
Los Angeles, CA, October 27, 2010 – Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) today announced the signing of renowned session man and songwriter Leon Russell to a worldwide co-publishing deal for The Union, his collaboration with UMPG’s legendary artist/composer Elton John and premiere lyricist and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. The new album was released on October 19.
Said UMPG Chairman/CEO David Renzer: “Leon Russell is a legend in his own right. Teaming with Elton John, and Bernie Taupin has resulted in a special record that will be a true event around the globe. We’re honored to have Leon join the UMPG family and look forward to seeing this project achieve worldwide acclaim and success.”
“Representing three of the greatest songwriters who have ever lived, on one project, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It doesn’t get any better than this and we intend to do everything we can, here at Universal Music Publishing Group, to make this an incredibly successful project around the world,” said Evan Lamberg, EVP of Creative, East Coast, Universal Music Publishing Group.
The Union rekindles the musical friendship that Elton John and Leon Russell, whom John has referred to as his idol, initiated more than forty years ago. John, Russell, and Taupin (along with producer T Bone Burnett) co-wrote the entire album, their first ever studio collaboration, which they described to Rolling Stone as “Two pianos, no egos.” The album features thirteen duets between Elton John and Leon Russell, with Rondor’s Brian Wilson featured as a guest collaborator and features such singles as “If It Wasn’t For Bad,” “Hey Ahab,” and “Monkey Suit.” All songs on the album were performed live, with one or two takes. John and Russell are planning for The Union tour in 2011.
Throughout an impressive discography that stretches over five decades, Russell has collaborated with some of the world’s leading artists and writers, including Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. Fourteen of his albums have landed in the Billboard Top 200 chart, including top ten successes Carney and Leon Live. One for the Road, his collaboration with Willie Nelson, featured the No. 1 country single “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Elton John and Bernie Taupin met in 1967, and an uninterrupted quarter century of creativity ensued with Elton John selling more than 200,000,000 records, being awarded 23 Gold albums and 13 Gold single records. He and lyric writer, Bernie Taupin, comprise one of the longest-running and most successful songwriting teams of all time – John and Taupin have to date collaborated on over 30 albums and maintain extraordinary levels of popularity and accomplishment. Taupin continues to reign as one of the premier lyricists in the entire spectrum of rock and roll.
UMPG either owns or administers the rights to the entire catalogs of both Elton John and Bernie Taupin, including such classic songs as “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” and “Blue Eyes.” Taupin’s lyrics include such memorable hits as “Candle in the Wind,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “Something About The Way You Look Tonight,” and 1969’s “Your Song,” the songwriting team’s first hit.
About Universal Music Publishing Group
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is the industry’s leading global music publishing operation and is part of Universal Music Group. UMPG represents music in every genre from many of the world’s top songwriters and catalogs including U2, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Nelly, Juan Gabriel, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Ciara, Dave Grohl, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Beastie Boys, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, ABBA, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Paul Simon, Henry Mancini, Christina Aguilera, and Linkin Park, among many others. UMPG is also a global leader in the areas of Production Music, Christian and Classical Music. For more information, visit: www.umusicpub.com.