||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
|Born||1953 (age 60–61)
Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Leo was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1973, he moved to Chicago, Illinois and subsequently became a guitarist of the short-lived Eddie Boy Band. The band then traveled to Los Angeles, California two years later, where they recorded an album for MCA Records (which was the first record Leo had made). The Eddie Boy Band, however, was unsatisfied with the sound quality of the album, and they disbanded shortly afterward.
In 1979, four years after the Eddie Boy Band broke up, Leo began touring with J. D. Souther as a guitarist. And over the next few years, he would record and tour with the likes of Kim Carnes, Jimmy Buffett and Glenn Frey. During this time, Leo also began a songwriting career. In 1983, he scored his first hit when Crystal Gayle reached Number One on the Billboard Country Singles chart with his composition, "Baby What About You." That same year, Leo recorded a pop album for Warner Bros. Records titled Rockin' on 6th, and he made his first venture into music production, when he produced Timothy B. Schmit's 1984 album, Playin' It Cool. In 1985, Leo moved to Nashville, Tennessee to focus more on his writing and producing careers. The first album he produced while in Nashville was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1987 project, Hold On. One of the tracks from that album, "Baby's Got A Hold On Me" an up-tempo song he co-wrote with Jeff Hannah and Bob Carpenter, scored him his first hit as a producer on the R&R charts.
Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Leo wrote songs and produced albums for many country music artists and groups, such as Alabama, Restless Heart, Kathy Mattea, Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes, among others. Also during this time, he spent four years serving as vice president and head of A&R at RCA Records' Nashville division. Among the artists he signed during his tenure at RCA Nashville were Martina McBride and Lari White.
As of 2014, Leo continues to be active in the music business. Among his more recent projects are writing songs and producing albums for the likes of Brenda Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company, as well a collaboration project with other fellow Nashville musicians, calling themselves the Vinyl Kings. His projects in the late 2000s include the production of two Emerson Drive albums, Countrified and Believe, both of which Leo co-produced with former Alabama bass guitarist Teddy Gentry. Additionally, Leo has also produced the 2012 self-titled second album of the group Love and Theft.
All told, he has performed on over 150 records, produced 21 albums that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, written six singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart, and won 6 BMI Millionaire awards.
- "Josh Leo". Retrieved 2010-04-11.