April 28, 1952
A native of Birmingham, Chuck Leavell has added his keyboard expertise to the international appearances of many of the top names in rock and roll, and has performed on some of the most outstanding recordings made during the past two decades.
As a member of the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Sea Level, and the bands backing artists such as Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Mick Jagger, Leavell has toured the world contributing piano, organ and synthesizers.
His recording studio excursions have included performances with the Rolling Stones, Dr. John, the Black Crowes, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker and many others.
As a songwriter he has collaborated with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on the song "Back To Zero", as well as material for his own Capricorn Records group Sea Level.
In the 90's, Leavell scored successes with the Rolling Stones "Steel Wheels" tour and album, the much publicized Eric Clapton "Unplugged", album-video, and with a live album from a tour of Japan with ex-Beatle George Harrison.
He has appeared in movies such as "Stone To The Max" with the Rolling Stones, and the biography of Chuck Berry, "Hail, Hail Rock And Roll".
The 90's have been great, especially to Chuck Leavell. Being one of the industries most respected and talented keyboardist, Leavell has made the 90's his decade. Leavell started 1993 off right by appearing with Mick Jagger on the February 6th episode of Saturday Night Live. He also appeared with Mick Jagger during a concert in New York's Webster hall on February 9th.
During 1991 &1992 Leavell contributed his talents to three of Eric Clapton's albums. He worked on 24 Nights, Rush - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and the Grammy Award Winning, Album of the Year - Eric Clapton - Unplugged.
Leavell also went on the other side of music by producing Warren Hayne's MegaForce Records Polygram album, Tales of Ordinary Madness. This album was released March 23rd. Leavell also played his keyboard on 70% of the album.
Leavell also played an important role in one of histories greatest tours of rock 'n' roll. During 1989 & 1990 Leavell played with the Rolling Stones on their Steel Wheels and Urban Jungle Europe tour. His role as pianist for the Stones since 1982, and on the tour, is an affirmation of the respect he has earned in the pop music world for nearly 20 years.
In fact, even as Leavell left his farm in Dry Branch, Georgia, to rejoin the Stones for their European tour, another band whom he recorded with - The Black Crowes, of Atlanta, Georgia - was making tracks with its pop single, "Jealous Again."
Leavell first began working with the Rolling Stones in 1982 when promoter Bill Graham suggested him to the group as they prepared for their Tatoo You summer tour of Europe. Leavell subsequently performed on the Stones' Undercover (1987) and Dirty Work (1986) albums. With Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, he co-authored "Back To Zero" for the Dirty Work LP.
When the Rolling Stones were not performing, Leavell stayed active by playing on two Fabulous Thunderbirds' albums, Tuff Enuff (1986) and Hot Number (1987). He also spent two years touring with the Thunderbirds before bowing out in 1988 to record Dion's Yo' Frankie! album with Thunderbirds' producer Dave Edmunds. Leavell later played on Edmunds' album, Closer To The Flame, released in January 1990.
During the Stones' four-year hiatus, Leavell remained in contact with Jagger and Richards. Jagger invited Leavell to perform on his 1988 solo project, She's The Boss, and Richards chose him for two projects - Aretha Franklin's "Jumpin' Jack Flash" video and single, and the all-star band that backed Chuck Berry in the 1987 Taylor Hackford "Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll" feature film. Leavell again worked with Richards on his debut solo album, Talk Is Cheap, in 1988.
Leavell also played in the all-star band for the acclaimed cable television special, "Legends of Rock", where he backed Ray Charles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, and B.B. King.
When the Rolling Stones regrouped in 1989, it was only natural that Chuck Leavell would be asked to be their piano player. In June of that year, Leavell was called to London for the sessions for the Rolling Stones' hit album Steel Wheels, and in July began rehearsals with the band for the imminent tours.
But, look at where he's been, and you'll understand why he's where he is now.