From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Rene, Leon T.

(born: 1902  -  died: 1982) 

Leon T. Rene, born in Covington, KY, was a bricklayer before becoming a recognized songwriter and record producer. He partnered in the music business with his older brother, Otis J. Rene, Jr., who was born in New Orleans in 1898. They moved to Los Angeles in 1922 and in the 1930s founded the record companies Exclusive Records and Excelsior Records. They became the leading producers of independent recording artists, with recordings by artist such as Nat King Cole, Johnny Otis, and Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers. The Rene brothers were also the first owners of an independent record company on the West Coast. They also owned publishing companies Leon René Publications and Recordo Music Publishers. In 1957, they formed a new record label, Class Records. One of their best know songs was "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano." For more see "Leon Rene, immortalized swallows of Capistrano," United Press International, 06/08/1982, Inside section, p.3B; and "Leon T. Rene" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: United Press International (UPI)
NKAA Source: Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Rene, Leon T.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 24, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-10-10 19:46:52