Carl Radle

Carl Dean Radle was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 18, 1942. After he graduated Edison High School in Tulsa in 1960, he began playing in local clubs with fellow friends and musicians David Gates, Russell Bridges (Leon Russell), Johnny (J.J.) Cale, Jim Markham, Tommy Crook, Jim Karstein, Chuck Blackwell, and Larry Bell.

After Carl’s discharge in 1965 from the Air National Guard, he returned to Tulsa when Leon Russell called him from California offering a “huge opportunity,” a position as the new bass player for Gary Lewis & the Playboys. He recorded with and toured with that group for about one year, making appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig, Hullabaloo, and The Tonight Show. In 1969, Leon Russell once again influenced Carl’s destiny by introducing Radle to Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett to help form the group Delaney, Bonnie, and Friends. This group also included Leon, Rita Coolidge, and Dave Mason. In early 1970, several of the groups members including Carl, joined Leon Russell who was forming the Mad Dogs and Englishmen ensemble for a tour with Joe Cocker. From it emerged the biggest rock and roll tour in history, a major movie, and a gold album.

In May and July of 1970 Carl collaborated with George Harrison on his All Things Must Pass album. After the sessions with George Harrison, Radle joined Eric Clapton for sessions that resulted in what has become one of the greatest classic rock albums of all time, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. In April of 1974, Eric Clapton began performing with a band consisting of Carl, Jamie Oldaker, Dick Sims, and Yvonne Elliman on vocals. For the next five years, Carl, Eric, and this group of musicians including the addition of vocalist of Marcy Levy, worked closely together on an almost endless string of highly successful gold and platinum albums including “Backless” and 461 Ocean Boulevard. Along with playing for Eric Clapton, Carl Radle played on albums by Dave Mason, J.J. Cale, Rita Coolidge, Dr. John, Art Garfunkel, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. As many musicians are who come from Oklahoma, Carl was an extremely versatile musician, comfortable with blues, country, or rock. His contributions to rock history are significant and historic. Carl Radle died in May of 1980, at the age of 37 from the excesses that often go along with the extreme nature of being a performer in the rock arena.

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