"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Billy Preston, 1946-2006

Billy Preston died today in Scottsdale, Arizona, following a long battle with kidney disease. After receiving a kidney transplant in 2002, his health continued to deteriorate; he had been in a coma since November 21, 2005.

Born in Houston, Texas, Preston collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, and Aretha Franklin. Among many other songs, he wrote the 1963 Joe Cocker classic "You Are So Beautiful". One of only two non-Beatles to receive a credit on a Beatles single, he played electric piano on "Get Back" during the band's rooftop concert in 1969, and is sometimes credited as the "Fifth Beatle". He also played on the albums "Abbey Road" (1969) and "Let It Be" (1970). After the breakup of the Beatles, he continued a close relationship with George Harrison, including a performance at "The Concert for George" after Harrison's death in 2001.

Conquering drug addiction in the early 1990's, he toured with Eric Clapton, and recorded with a wide range of artists including Stevie Winwood and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Preston's final work was playing Gospel-tinged organ on Neil Diamond's 2005 album, "12 Songs".

His contribution to pop music was enormous. Rest in peace, Billy.


  • At 6/08/2006 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Janelle said…

    It's really sad to hear about Mr. Preston. He played with some really influential people in music history. I hope that he graces heaven by singing for the angels.


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