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Billy Preston










William Everett "Billy" Preston (September 9, 1946-June 6, 2006)--Keyboards-- (also known as "The Fifth Beatle, and as an unofficial member of the Rolling Stones, 1973-1977, 1997).

Billy Preston was a piano-playing child prodigy; by the age of sixteen, his resume included session work with Mahalia Jackson, Nat "King" Cole, Little Richard and Sam Cooke. He also had his first solo release, a gospel record called "Sixteen-Year-Old Soul." He is perhaps best known as a Grammy Award winner who performed with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, adding a touch of American soul to their British rock and pop. He also wrote "Nothing From Nothing" and the Joe Cocker hit "You Are So Beautiful."

Billy Preston joined the Rolling Stones as an unofficial member of the band, playing keyboard, with he and Nicky Hopkins as the regular pianists. Preston played on the Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goat's Head Soup, It's Only Rock and Roll, and Black & Blue. He toured with the Stones as an opening act in 1973, and also joined them on tour in 1975 and 1976. His important position with the band is seen by the fact that the Stones had him play two of his own songs, backed by the band, in the middle of every concert on this tour. Preston left the band in 1977, over disagreements over money. After he left the Stones, he maintained contact with the individual members of the band, playing keyboards on several of the Stones' solo albums. He rejoined the Stones to record with them on the Bridges to Babylon album in 1997.

Most rock music fans know Billy Preston for his extensive work recording with the Beatles in the late 1960s. He is a major contributor to the Beatles albums Let It Be and Abbey Road, appearing with the Beatles in the famous film,"Let It Be," in the famous rooftop concert at Apple Records in London.

He also recorded and/or performed with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Sly and the Family Stone, and many other notable performers. Despite his rock 'n roll lifestyle, he described himself as a deeply religious man and recorded several well-recieved gospel albums.

He died June 6, 2006 of kidney failure in Houston, Texas. His illness was brought on by a lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse.


Billboard Pop Singles Chart (US)

1969 - #62 "That's the Way God Planned It"

1972 - #77 "I Wrote a Simple Song"

1972 - #2 "Outta-Space" (Grammy Award winner)

1972 - #50 "Slaughter"

1972 - #62 "That's the Way God Planned It" {re-release}

1973 - #1 "Will It Go Round in Circles"

1973 - #4 "Space Race"

1974 - #1 "Nothing from Nothing"

1974 - #48 "You're So Unique"

1975 - #71 "Fancy Lady"

1975 - #22 "Struttin'"

1978 - #86 "Get Back"

1980 - #4 "With You I'm Born Again" (duet with Syreeta Wright)

1980 - #52 "One More Time For Love"

1980 - #88 "I'm Never Gonna Say Goodbye"

Copyright © 1998-2006 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 07.31.06

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.


Lee, R. "Biofiles: Billy Preston (1946-2006)"


Associates, Colleagues, & Connections

The Beatles

The Rolling Stones

Bob Dylan

Joe Cocker 

Links and Resources on the [person]

Official Billy Preston Home Page

Eclectic Talent Billy Preston Dead at 59 :Genre-bending keyboardist collaborated with the Beatles, Stones, Chili Peppers--Rolling Stone Magazine article

Billy Preston Portfolio

Billy Preston--Wikipedia article

Billy Preston and The Band

Billy Preston - Filmography, Awards, Biography, Agent, Discussions, Photos, News Articles, Fan Sites.

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