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Leon René (February 6, 1902 – May 30, 1982) was an American music composer of R&B and rock and roll songs in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. He sometimes used the songwriting pseudonym Jimmy (or Jimmie) Thomas. He also established several record labels.

Born in Covington, Louisiana he is perhaps best known for his hit song song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano." The song, written as a tribute to the annual springtime return of the Cliff Swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, spent several weeks atop the Your Hit Parade charts during its initial release in 1940. The song has been recorded by such musicians as The Ink Spots, Fred Waring, Guy Lombardo, and Glenn Miller. A glassed-off room in the mission has been designated in René's honor and displays the upright piano on which he composed the tune, the reception desk from his office and several copies of the song's sheet music and other pieces of furniture, all donated by René's family.

René's other works included "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" (with Clarence Muse and brother Otis René), "Gloria," and such rock staples as "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman", "Rockin' Robin", and Boogie Woogie Santa Claus.

During the 1940s, he ran the pioneering independent rhythm and blues labels Exclusive and Excelsior with his brother Otis. They had purchased their own record plant, but when the format changed from 78 rpm to 45rpm, they could not press the new speed and the labels went out of business in 1950. Leon René set up the Class label in 1951, and issued successful recordings by his son Rafael "Googie" René, and Bobby Day (who also recorded as Bobby Byrd of The Hollywood Flames and Bob & Earl). In 1958, he set up the Rendezvous Record Company, which produced hits by B. Bumble and the Stingers until it folded in 1963.

René died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 80.

When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day you promised to come back to me
When you whispered, "Farewell," in Capistrano
'twas the day the swallows flew out to sea

excerpt from "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" by Leon René

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