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Billy Preston

Billy Preston

Biography

A child prodigy on the piano and organ, Billy Preston started his career backing gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the mid-1950s at the young age of 10. Blessed with an abundance of talent and a wildly soulful style, he soon found himself in high demand. In the '60s, he began releasing solo LPs, toured with Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, and played with the Beatles on Let It Be, Abbey Road and The White Album. In 1969, he teamed up with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Ginger Baker for the eclectic and excellent record That's the Way God Planned It. He also performed at George Harrison's benefit Concert for Bangladesh in 1970. His biggest hit singles, "Outa-Space" and "Will It Go Round in Circles," appeared a few years later. Preston continued to play and record extensively over the decades, collaborating with the Rolling Stones, Syreeta Wright, and Sly and the Family Stone, among others. He also penned Joe Cocker's smash hit "You Are So Beautiful," and appeared in movies like The Blues Brothers. He recorded for Motown in the late '70s and early '80s then released new material for various gospel labels later in his career. Preston passed away in 2006 at the age of 59.

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