Leon Redbone passed away on the morning of May 30. He was a legendary jazz interpreter and known for his legendary tour in Toronto’s folk music circuit.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127,” said a statement from Redbone’s camp. Redbone was 69, according to Billboard.
“He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing sing along number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends, and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Thank you…. and good evening everybody,'” the statement, written with a twinge of Redbone’s spirit, concluded.
Here are some of Leon Redbone’s greatest hits:
“Lazybones” was a testament to a feeling we’ve all felt before. The sun gazing down on a crisp sunny day as the grass caresses your body like a bed and blanket after a long day of work on a winter night – a feeling perfectly encaptured by Redbone’s “Lazybones.”
“Lazybones” was originally a Tin Pan Alley song later adapted and produced by Redbone who released it on his 1975 album On The Track. One of Redbone’s greatest and a true representation of all the lazy Sundays, naps in the shade and couch potatoes out there.
‘Shine on Harvest Moon’
“Shine on Harvest Moon” was the third track off of Redbone’s 1977 album Double Time. The son was originally done by the early-1900s vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth.
Although the original song included the lyrics, “I ain’t had no lovin’ Since April, January, June or July,” Redbone put his own slight twist on the classic song, using the lyrics “January, February, June or July.”
Redbone even performed this classic on one of his rare talk show appearances. Sitting in between Bryan Cranston and comedic alien, ALF, Redbone teamed up with the alien puppet to put on a show for ALF’s crowd.
Another classic, refurbished by Redbone is “Christmas Island.” The song offers a tropical view of Christmas as Redbone paints a picture of a tropical island far from the typical commotion Christmas brings.
“Christmas Island” appeared on Redbone’s 1988 Christmas album titled after the song with the same name. Whether it is in the midst of July’s heat, on a beach in September or bundled up in the middle of winter in late December waiting to open presents, “Christmas Island” is a tune versatile enough to take on many different moods.
‘Ain’t Misbehaving (I’m Savin’ My Love For You)’
“Ain’t Misbehaving (I’m Savin’ My Love For You)” is another classic off of Redbone’s 1975 album On The Track. Redbone uses his soft and deep voice to pair with his guitar plucking and background strings to create a melody that’ll make your foot tap and mind swoon.
“Ain’t Misbehaving (I’m Savin’ My Love For You)” is one of those songs that brought ragtime music back to life. Whether in the yard enjoying the sunshine, reading the newspaper in your favorite chair or winding down for the night “Ain’t Misbehaving” brings along a solidarity that’ll never make you feel alone.
What originally was a music hall tune comprised by Alfred Lee and George Leybourne in 1866, got revamped and “Leon-ized” in the 1970s. Redbone released his rendition of “Champagne Charlie” in 1978 on an album of the same name.
In an upbeat tune full of guitar picking, Redbone scattin’ and background brass “Champagne Charlie” will drop you right in the middle of New Orleans with a desire to score some booze and have a night out you will most definitely regret.
“Champagne Charlier” has been featured across popular culture throughout the 20th century.