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Billy Preston dead at 59 Condenser Microphones
Old 6th June 2006
  #1
Billy Preston dead at 59

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,198353,00.html

'Fifth Beatle' Billy Preston Dies at 59

The great singer-songwriter and performer Billy Preston, the real "Fifth Beatle," has died after a long illness as a result of malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure and other complications.

As a result of a medical insult, he'd been in a deep coma since last November 21, but was still struggling to recover. He died at Shea Scottsdale Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he'd lived for the last couple of years.

Billy was called the Fifth Beatle because he played keyboards on "Let It Be," "The White Album" and "Abbey Road." He also played on the Rolling Stones' hit song "Miss You," and often played with Eric Clapton. He also did the organ work on Sly & the Family Stone's greatest hits.

Preston's own hits include "Nothing From Nothing," "Will It Go Round in Circles" and "You Are So Beautiful," which Joe Cocker turned into an international hit.

Preston was actually mentored by Ray Charles, and acts like Little Richard (see below), Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland had a huge impact on him at a young age.

In the early '60s, Billy went to Europe with Little Richard who was playing in Hamburg. The Beatles were the opening act, and as the story goes, he was the one who made sure they got fed.

His friendship with them lasted through the 1960s and he was the first act signed to Apple Records, thanks to George Harrison. The resulting album is called "That's the Way God Planned It."

In 1971, Preston played in "The Concert for Bangladesh." Last year, in one of his final appearances, he performed at a reunion in Los Angeles for the release of the Bangladesh DVD with Clapton and Harrison's son Dhani on guitar.

More recently, Billy can be heard on the latest albums by Neil Diamond and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He's also featured on the Starbucks soul album "Believe to My Soul," featuring Mavis Staples and Ann Peebles.

I had the good fortune to know Billy the last few years, and saw him perform — as chronicled in this column — last August at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and last October at the Atlantis in the Bahamas.

He was one of those spectacular performers who put everything into his show, even though he had no working kidneys by then and was receiving dialysis. He was a warm, wonderful human being with a mile-wide smile. He was also a genius musician, the likes of whom we will not see again.

Rest in peace, Billy. You deserve it
Attached Thumbnails
Billy Preston dead at 59-preston.jpg  
Old 6th June 2006
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
KROK's Avatar
Very sad news.
Old 6th June 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

his rendition of "my sweet lord" on the concert for george was heavenly.......
to add to the post before, one of preston's biggest mentors was the late
sam cooke.....billy preston recorded as a teenager for cooke's s.a.r. label......

r.i.p.
billy
you leave great light and joy......



- jack
Old 6th June 2006
  #4
He was brilliant...

His singing on The Concert For George was amazing.. almost like a 'celestial connection' of sorts..I am sure they have a cloud with a piano & hammond B3 prepaired for him....

RIP

And thanks for the music..
Old 6th June 2006
  #5
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
.........a 'celestial connection' of sorts..I am sure they have a cloud with a piano & hammond B3 prepaired for him....

123
Old 6th June 2006
  #6
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allencollins's Avatar
 

bummer - great talent he was. Huge vocals on the guy
Old 6th June 2006
  #7
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Will It Go 'Round In Circles

Respects to Billy P.
Old 6th June 2006
  #8
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Here's what AP wrote...

By BOB CHRISTIE
Associated Press Writer


PHOENIX (AP) - Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing," died Tuesday at 59.

Preston's longtime manager, Joyce Moore, said Preston had been in a coma since November in a care facility and was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale Saturday after his condition deteriorated.

"He had a very, very beautiful last few hours and a really beautiful passing," Moore said by telephone from Germany. "He went home good."

Preston had battled chronic kidney failure, and he received a kidney transplant in 2002. But the kidney failed and he has been on dialysis ever since, Moore said earlier this year.

Known for his big smile and towering Afro, Preston was a teen prodigy on the piano and organ, and lent his gospel-tinged touch to classics such as the Beatles' "Get Back" and the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?"

He broke out as a solo artist in the 1970s, winning a best instrumental Grammy in 1973 for "Outta Space," and scoring other hits with "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Syreeta Wright.

He also wrote Joe Cocker's weeper, "You Are So Beautiful," and co-wrote with Quincy Jones the score for 1970 movie "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs." Other achievements included being a musical guest on the 1975 debut of "Saturday Night Live," and having a song named after him by Miles Davis. Among his film credits: "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Preston's partnership with the Beatles began in early 1969 when friend George Harrison recruited him to play on "Let It Be," a back-to-basics film and record project that nearly broke down because of feuding among band members. Harrison himself quit at one point, walking out on camera after arguing with Paul McCartney.

Preston not only inspired the Beatles to get along _ Harrison likened his effect to a feuding family staying on its best behavior in front of a guest _ but contributed a light, bluesy solo to "Get Back," performing the song with the band on its legendary "roof top" concert, the last time the Beatles played live. He was one of many sometimes labeled "The Fifth Beatle."

Preston remained close to Harrison and performed at Harrison's all-star charity event, "The Concert for Bangladesh" and at the "Concert for George," a tribute to Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001. He played on solo records by Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.

Preston also toured and recorded extensively with the Rolling Stones, playing on such classic albums as "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street." In the mid-'70s, he parted from the Stones, reportedly unhappy over not getting proper credit for "Melody" and other songs. He reunited with the band in 1997 on its "Bridges to Babylon" record.

His sessions credits included Aretha Franklin's "Young, Gifted and Black," Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and Sly and Family Stone's "There's a Riot Goin' On," three of the most acclaimed albums of the past 35 years.

The Houston native earned his performance chops at age 10 playing the keyboard for gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and at 12 portraying a young W. C. Handy in the 1958 biopic "St. Louis Blues." He toured with mentors and fellow piano greats Ray Charles and Little Richard in the early 1960s, first encountering the Beatles while on the road in Germany.

Preston had numerous personal troubles in recent years. In 1992, he was given a suspended jail sentence, but ordered incarcerated for nine months at a drug rehabilitation center for his no-contest pleas to cocaine and assault charges. Five years later, he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating probation. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and agreed to testify against other defendants in an alleged scam that netted about $1 million.
Old 6th June 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 

Sad news indeed. RIP, Billy.
Old 7th June 2006
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Trancetones's Avatar
 

Billy Preston - Rest in Peace

He's probably knee deep in a jam session right now with Bohnam on Drums, Hendrix on Guitar, Jaco on Bass and Janice on Vocals.

Just a small sampling of his credits....have mercy...can I get a Hallelujah!!!

The Beatles – Let it Be
The Beatles – Abbey Road
The Beatles – The White Album
Beatle’s Final Live Performance – Abbey Road Studios Rooftop
The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup
The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock and Roll
Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black
Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
Muppets in Space - Soundtrack
Old 7th June 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
hadn't heard til this post... wow... nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin' .... i guess.
Old 7th June 2006
  #12
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Damn..
Attached Thumbnails
Billy Preston dead at 59-billy_preston_everybody.jpg  
Old 7th June 2006
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Push845's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raal
hadn't heard til this post... wow... nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin' .... i guess.
thumbsup Dude, I just saw that video on HV1 classics. Really cool to see!
Seeya Billy!
Old 7th June 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 

>Billy Preston - Rest In Peace.

Amen to that.
Old 7th June 2006
  #15
Gear Head
 

I was fortunate to play a few gigs with Billy. One of the highlights of my career.
He will be missed.
Old 7th June 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Push845
thumbsup Dude, I just saw that video on HV1 classics. Really cool to see!
Seeya Billy!
didn't see the video but i used to follow billy preston, leon russell, dr.john, ray charles and stevie wonder like the plague. my keyboard heroes.
Old 7th June 2006
  #17
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ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

"Will it go 'round in circles?... Will it go 'round like a bird up in the sky?...

Anyone remember him as the musical director on the David Brenner Show?

One of my heros...... again.....

Rock on Billy!
Old 7th June 2006
  #18
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 

He also played on the last Jet cd...

I didn't know until this thread either...Damn!
Old 7th June 2006
  #19
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nathanvacha's Avatar
 

Add one more to the handn't heard list. That's too bad. It makes me realize I haven't been around long enough to really appreciate some of the greatest musicians ever. If I had an ssl... I'd trade it for a time machine. Actually, if anyone out there's interested, and you have a time machine, I'll trade you a 002 for it...
Old 7th June 2006
  #20
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goldphinga's Avatar
 

this is awful news. he was a legend. what makes it even worse is that i read an article by his brother saying that Billy's ex prevented Billy's blood relatives seeing him in the hospital so i dont even know if his real family got to see him before he died.

RIP Billy...
Old 7th June 2006
  #21
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Relax's Avatar
 

R.I.P. One of my favorite albums
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Old 7th June 2006
  #22
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ramjet's Avatar
 

REST IN PEACE BILLY PRESTON

very very sad news

ramjet
Old 7th June 2006
  #23
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trancetones

Just a small sampling of his credits....Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On

Billy plays on _Riot_? I did not know that. Wow...


He was an absolute animal when he toured with the Stones in '76, goading Jagger to even more extreme onstage antics, joining in on the whole Giant Inflatable Dick shenanigans...a consumate artist who knew the value of entertainment but never compromised his musicianship to get a number across.

I loved his B-3 playing on _Sticky Fingers_ and _Exile_. Jam on, outerspaceman!
Old 7th June 2006
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
8thnote's Avatar
 

I'm aging myself but saw him in Houston many years ago on tour with Billy Cobham on drums and the Brothers Johnson on bass and guitar. Unbelievable show.

The man had the magic.
Old 7th June 2006
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Phunkeman's Avatar
He also wrote "You Are So Beautiful To Me" the song Joe Cocker recorded.
Old 7th June 2006
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness
Here's what AP wrote...

By BOB CHRISTIE
Associated Press Writer

Preston also toured and recorded extensively with the Rolling Stones, playing on such classic albums as "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile on Main Street."
Amen....
Old 7th June 2006
  #27
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
One of my favorite songs from Billy...

I've got a song that ain't got no melody.
I'm gonna sing it to my friends.

Will it go around in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

I've got a story, ain't got no moral.
Let the bad guy win, every once in a while.

Will it go around in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

I've got a dance that ain't got no steps, no.
Gonna let the music move me around.

Will it go around in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky...


That tune really grooves.
Old 7th June 2006
  #28
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

RIP

I just love what he did for the Beatles!

War
Old 7th June 2006
  #29
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Jamz's Avatar
Can't forget the 1975 Stones album Black and Blue. The song Melody...great piano featuring Mick and Billy on weaving vocals.
The subsequent 75 Stones tour featured Billy as well. Besides being the "fake afro" wigged keyboard/sidekick on stage he was featured in each Stones set doing 2 of his own songs. Looked like a lot fun up there.

I had the pleasure of briefly working with him around 87 or so during or around a Gladys Knight album we were doing. Somewhere in Nashville my buddy has a video of that session. It was exciting to meet such a talented guy along with the history be brought with him.

I listen to a song like Get Back and realize that 3 of the 5 guys on that record are gone. What a drag it is...

RIP
Old 7th June 2006
  #30
Gear Addict
 
EngineEars's Avatar
 

One of my favorites. He will be missed. R.I.P.
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