Although often overlooked, songwriter Leon René was an important figure in R n' B/early rock n' roll, as he helped shape the West Coast R n' B sound during the '50s. Born on February 6, 1902 in Covington, Los Angeles, René (along with his brother, Leon) was the head of one of the earliest black independent labels on America's West Coast, Exclusive and Excelsior Records. The label later changed its name to Class Records during the late '50s (and welcomed aboard another owner, Preston Love), during which times René produced and penned some of the era's most popular hits, including "Rockin' Robin." On May 30, 1982, René passed away at the age of 80, in Los Angeles, California.
Share this page