He was the definition of “Rock Royalty”. It was 12 years ago, on June 6, 2006 th…

Written by on June 7, 2018


He was the definition of “Rock Royalty”. It was 12 years ago, on June 6, 2006 that we lost the legendary Billy Preston.

Billy was a virtuoso keyboardist, particularly on Hammond organ. He 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.

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”. Since Sheridan was labeled alongside “The Beat Brothers”, Preston is, strictly speaking, the only artist to be labeled explicitly with “The Beatles”.

That is why many call Billy “The 5th Beatle”.

RIP Billy. You were a gift to all of us.




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