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Billy Preston


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Billy Preston (9 September 1946 - 6 June 2006) was an American and , famously known as a child prodigy pianist before releasing several hits (including #1 smashes “Will it Go ‘Round in Circles” and “Nothing From Nothing”) and working with classic artists such as Aretha Franklin and The Beatles. He notably performed with Mahalia Jackson at the age of 16 and appeared as a young W.C. Handy in a 1958 biopic. His first solo record was a album called ‘16 Year Old Soul’.

Preston first came to widespread attention of a U.S. mainstream audience as the organist (and sometimes vocalist) in the house band on the television show ‘Shindig,’ popular during 1964-66. On tour backing stars Little Richard and Sam Cooke, he met the Beatles (early in their career) in Hamburg, Germany in 1962. He was later invited by George Harrison to join The Beatles in the studio for the filming/recording of ‘Let It Be’ (1970). Preston’s most memorable performance with the Beatles is on the track “Get Back”.

The apparent reason for the collaboration was that the project was being done live— without overdubs— and the Beatles wanted a second keyboardist. Preston’s soulful style was to compliment the approach the Beatles had for this album. His was a genre they’d grown up listening to and were reaching back to as well as paying tribute to.


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