Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bye, Bye Billy

Billy Preston died yesterday.

As the NY Times reports, Billy Preston, 59, Soul Musician, Is Dead; Renowned Keyboardist and Collaborator, Preston was a "splashy gospel-rooted keyboardist whose career included No. 1 solo hits and work with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones."

As the Times notes:

Mr. Preston had an extensive career as a sideman, working with musicians from Little Richard to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His own hits included the Grammy-winning instrumental "Outa-Space" in 1972 and the No. 1 pop singles "Will It Go Round in Circles" (1973) and "Nothing From Nothing" (1974). He also wrote (with Bruce Fisher) the ubiquitous "You Are So Beautiful."

* * * *

Mr. Preston was the musical guest on the first "Saturday Night Live," broadcast in 1975. He appeared in the 1978 Beatles-inspired film "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as Sergeant Pepper In 1979 he had a hit duet with the singer Syreeta Wright, "With You I'm Born Again."
Crooks and Liars has video clips of "My Sweet Lord" and "That's the Way God Planned It," with George Harrison from the Concert for Bangladesh.

You can also see a fabulous performance of "You are so Beautiful," with Patti Labelle & Joe Cocker and Billy Preston on piano, at the Apollo in 1985. And here's a live performance of Will It Go Around in Circles?, with Eric Clapton & Billy Preston in 2001.

And here's a clip, of the song With You I'm Born Again, with Billy Preston & Syretta Wright, which was one of my all time favorite love songs.

Bye, Bye Billy. RIP.

UPDATE: And this is an amazing video, Billy Preston & Nat King Cole, performing the Fats Domino hit song "Blueberry Hill" -- when Billy Preston was about 10 years old (around 1957). You can see he was meant to be a performer even then.

Finally, here's a Tribute to Billy Preston:

Tribute (from the beatlemaniacs)

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