Thursday, June 08, 2006

Billy Preston

Pianist, keyboardist, singer, songwriter Billy Preston passed away this week, at age 59.

I had several opportunities to see Billy Preston over the last few years. He frequently passed through Austin on tour, but I never got to see him.

Preston is probably best known in popular culture as having recorded with The Beatles, one of many known as the 'fifth Beatle', because of his work on The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road.

He also recorded with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Preston was also an accomplished songwriter, among his most well-known tunes was 'You Are So Beautiful', which was made famous by Joe Cocker.

He was highly influenced by Ray Charles and gospel artists such as Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. In addition to recording as a pop act, he also recorded several masterful gospel recordings. Presoton also recorded solo gospel organ records, and was known as one of the best gospel organists.

For more info, check out his website.


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