Patrick Leonard

Patrick Leonard  (born March 14, 1956) is an American songwriter, keyboardist and music producer of French-Canadian descent.  He gained his entry into the music business with late 1970’s Chicago-based pomp rock band Trillion, which also featured future Toto singer Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen on lead vocals.  He is best known for his longtime collaboration with Madonna on many different projects including her albums True Blue (1986), Who’s That Girl (1987), Like a Prayer (1989), I’m Breathless (1990) and Ray of Light (1998).  Leonard has worked with a wide variety of artists, including late-period Pink Floyd and solo Roger Waters and David Gilmour, as well as Boz Scaggs, Ilse DeLange, Deborah Blando, Peter Cetera, Bryan Ferry, Michael W. Smith, Julian Lennon, Elton John, Anna Vissi, Jody Watley, Rod Stewart, Leonard Cohen, Bryan Adams, Jewel, Blue October, and up and coming artist Rachel Loy.  (More from Wikipedia)
Trillion was founded by Chicago musicians Patrick Leonard (keyboards) and Bill Wilkins (drums); they initially went by the name of Whisper.  Joined by alumni from Chicago area bands – Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen (vocals), Frank Barbalace (guitar), and Ron Anaman (bass/vocals) – Trillion was quickly signed by Epic Records and went to work on their first album. 
For the second album, Trillion went back to the drawing board.  First, lead singer Fergie Frederiksen was sacked in favor of Thom Griffin; evidently before the second album was released, bandleader Patrick Leonard left as well, though he did contribute to the music on the album. 
Without question, Patrick Leonard is the most prominent ex-bandmember of Trillion and is primarily known as a keyboard player, producer and songwriter in the early part of Madonna’s career.  He began working with the Material Girl as the musical director for the 1985 tour for her second album, Like a Virgin.  Unlike her first two albums, Madonna wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on her third album, True Blue.  Five of these songs were co-written by Madonna and Leonard – including “Open Your Heart”, “Live to Tell” and “La Isla Bonita” – and a sixth song, “Where’s the Party” was co-written by Madonna, Leonard and Stephen Bray, the other producer on the album.  Patrick Leonard continued working with Madonna on her next studio album, Like a Prayer – Leonard co-wrote more than one-half of the songs on this album as well, including “Cherish”, “Oh Father” and the title song “Like a Prayer” (which formed the basis of one of Madonna’s most controversial music videos).  He was also heavily involved with two soundtrack albums for Who’s That Girl and Dick Tracy that were released in the same time period, Who’s That Girl and I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy
Patrick Leonard also produced the late-period Elton John album, Songs from the West Coast (2001) and produced the soundtrack album, The Road to El Dorado from the 2000 animated film, The Road to El Dorado that included co-writing one song with Elton and Tim Rice, “Someday out of the Blue (Theme From El Dorado)”.  He also produced or co-produced albums by former Pink Floyd front man Roger WatersAmused to Death (1992); Bon JoviThis Left Feels Right (2003), that features new versions of classic Bon Jovi songs; Train front man Pat MonahanLast of Seven (2007); and JewelSpirit (1998).  Leonard also co-wrote the song “Hands” from the latter album; although it was not released as a single, the music video for the song – which shows Jewel helping to pick through the rubble of a destroyed apartment building – gained wide exposure in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy.  Patrick Leonard also co-wrote – with David Gilmour – one of the songs from the Pink Floyd album (their first without Roger Waters), A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987).  Further, Patrick Leonard has released a new-age/jazz solo album called Rivers (1997). 
Other rock artists that Patrick Leonard has worked with over the years literally reads like a Who’s Who:  Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson, Ted NugentBryan AdamsKenny LogginsPeter CeteraJody WatleyNatalie Imbruglia, and Natasha Bedingfield.  Showing his flexibility, he also co-wrote and produced two of the songs (including the title song, and both in Greek) for an album for Cypriot Greek pop musician Anna Vissi, Apagorevmeno (2008); and co-wrote a song for new age musician David Darling, “96 Years”. 
The newest member of TrillionCJ Vanston has big shoes to fill, since he is replacing former keyboard player, songwriter and bandleader Patrick Leonard.  Interestingly, Vanston also worked with Patrick Leonard on the Anna Vissi album referenced previously, Apagorevmeno
(October 2012)
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Last edited: March 22, 2021