September 2: The late great Billy Preston was born in 1946


William Everett “Billy” Preston (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006) was an American musician whose work included R&B, rock, soul, funk and gospel. A virtuoso keyboardist, particularly on Hammond organ, Preston was recognized as a top session musician in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and the Beatles. He then went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit pop singles including “That’s the Way God Planned It”, “Outa-Space”, “Will It Go Round in Circles”, “Space Race”, and “Nothing from Nothing”.

In addition, Preston co-wrote “You Are So Beautiful”, which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker. Preston continued to record and perform with other artists, notably George Harrison after the Beatles’ break-up, and Eric Clapton, and he played keyboards for the Rolling Stones on many of the group’s albums and tours during the 1970s.

That’s the way God planned it(1980):

Alongside Tony Sheridan, Preston was the only other musician to be credited on a Beatles recording: the artists on the number-one hit “Get Back” are given as “The Beatles with Billy Preston”.

Unsung, great documentary about Billy Preston:

His solo work would secure him a place in soul-heaven, his work with The Beatles and Stones is just bonus. Who else can we say that about? We miss him

Outta Space – Billy Preston and The Rolling Stones in a fantastic live performance:

Our chosen album, That’s the way God planned it (1969):

– Hallgeir

2 thoughts on “September 2: The late great Billy Preston was born in 1946”

  1. I saw him backing Little Richard in 1962. And he played organ behind Sam Cooke on “Little Red Rooster” (gets a namecheck). And also plays on Gloria Jones’ majestic “Heartbeat” from 65. Wasn’t he in a bit of trouble from his sexual preferences?

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