Rocker Must Check His Entourage at the Gate | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Rocker Must Check His Entourage at the Gate

(CN) - Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell created a nuisance for his neighbors by parking a tour bus and several other vehicles on his property, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled.

The rock troubadour, whose real name is Claude Russell Bridges, and his wife, Jan, appealed after losing a bench trial to Lonnie E. Roberts and nine others. The neighbors had demanded an injunction to stop the Bridges from keeping several vehicles in a parking lot at their home.

Russell owns a tour bus and a pair of panel trucks that hold his musical equipment for his tours, but the subdivision prohibits nonresidential uses. The neighbors also complained that the tour bus would wake them up when it entered or left the subdivision late at night.

Russell and his entourage gather at his home before and after tours, so vehicles belonging to his band members, bus driver and stage manager are on his property while Russell is touring the country, which he does at least half the year.

The trial court ruled in the neighbors' favor, and the appeals court agreed.

"The alternative to conducting the activities on Homeowners' property would require Mr. Bridges to compensate the owner of a commercial parking lot or storage facility for the same benefits," Judge David Farmer wrote for the three-judge panel.

"Mr. Bridges' commercial enterprise therefore obtained a financial benefit from the use of Homeowners' property for the complained-of activities, which we conclude constitutes use of the property for commercial purposes."

Though the court upheld the ruling in most respects, it reversed an injunction that would have the Bridges remove part of their parking lot and driveway.

Russell belongs to this year's class of inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter's Hall of Fame. His hits include "A Song for You," "Lady Blue," "Delta Lady" and "If It Wasn't For Bad."

He collaborated last year on an album called "The Union" with Elton John, who cites Russell as an early influence.

Russell has also worked with Willie Nelson and served as a mentor to Bruce Hornsby.

The Oklahoma-born musician also released four country music albums under the pseudonym Hank Wilson.

Elton John presented Russell at the 2011 Rock Hall induction ceremony on March 14.

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