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Billy Preston

It's advantageous to get an early start on your chosen career, but Billy Preston took the concept to extremes. By age ten he was playing keyboards with gospel diva Mahalia Jackson, and two years later, in 1958, he was featured in Hollywood's film bio of W.C. Handy, St. Louis Blues, as young Handy himself. Preston was a prodigy on organ and piano, recording during the early '60s for Vee-Jay and touring with Little Richard. He was a loose-limbed regular on the mid-'60s ABC TV series Shindig, proving his talent as both a vocalist and pianist, and he built an enviable reputation as a session musician, even backing the Beatles on their Let It Be album. That impressive Beatles connection led to Preston's big break as a solo artist with his own Apple album, but it was his early-'70s soul smashes "Outa-Space" and the high-flying vocal "Will It Go Round in Circles" for A&M that put Preston on the permanent musical map. Sporting a humongous Afro and an omnipresent gap-toothed grin, Preston showed that his enduring gospel roots were never far removed from his joyous approach. He continued to perform and record throughout the '80s, '90s, and 2000s, until he fell into a coma caused by pericarditis late in 2005; sadly, he never regained consciousness and passed away on June 6, 2006. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Retrospective

1. Steady Gettin' It

2. The Octopus

3. Slippin' And Slidin'

4. Low Down

5. I Am Coming Through

6. My Girl

7. Shotgun

8. Stop In The Name Of Love

9. Downtown

10. Eight Days A Week

11. King Of The Road

12. If I Had A Hammer

13. Billy's Bag

14. Let Me Know

15. Soul Meeting

16. Can't You Hear My Heartbeat

17. How Great Thou Art

x

Track List: The Ultimate Collection

1. Will It Go Round In Circles

2. Outa-Space

3. Slaughter

4. I Wrote A Simple Song

5. That's The Way God Planned It (Live)

6. Struttin'

7. Fancy Lady

8. You're So Unique

9. Space Race

10. Get Back

11. Blackbird

12. Wide Stride

13. Nothing From Nothing

14. I'm Really Gonna Miss You

15. You Are So Beautiful

16. With You I'm Born Again

17. Since I Held You Close

18. Go For It

19. One More Time For Love

20. I'm Never Gonna Say Goodbye

x

Track List: The Best Of Billy Preston

1. Outa-Space

2. Will It Go Round In Circles

3. That's The Way God Planned It (Live)

4. Struttin'

5. You Are So Beautiful

6. Nothing From Nothing

7. Get Back

8. I'm Really Gonna Miss You

9. Space Race

10. I Wrote A Simple Song

x

Track List: I Wrote A Simple Song

1. Shoud've Kown Better

2. I Wrote A Simple Song

3. John Henry

4. Without A Song

5. The Bus

6. Outa-Space

7. Looner Tune

8. You Done Got Older

9. Swing Down, Chariot

10. God Is Great

11. My Country 'Tis Of Thee

x

Track List: Encouraging Words (2010 Remaster)

1. Right Now

2. Little Girl

3. Use What You Got

4. My Sweet Lord

5. Let The Music Play

6. The Same Thing Again

7. I've Got A Feeling

8. Sing One For The Lord

9. When You Are Mine

10. I Don't Want You To Pretend

11. Encouraging Words

12. All Things Must Pass

13. You've Been Acting Strange

14. As Long As I Got My Baby

15. All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You)

16. How Long Has The Train Been Gone

Comments

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❤❤❤❤❤
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cindy2159
I was lucky enough to see Billy Preston, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar in concert together Tucson, AZ (Can't remember the year) It was an AMAZING show. Billy was awesome - he is missed!
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I was at the Bangladesh concert and he just blew me away!
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Some pieces just exude upbeat positive energy. The kind that never gets old. Like seeing an old friend after many years and immediately re-connect with the bond found the first time you met. :)
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N nothing but pure funk with the junk some glide in your stride and your mind is starting to slide in and out of conscience ness that's what tripping to Billy Preston was like!
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funky
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Did not know he died~~~sad.. .
His music loves on~~~~
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Oh my lord!
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If you enjoy Billy Preston, check out his performance of That's The Way God Planned It on the Concert for Bangladesh CD - or even better DVD or video of the concert.
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Carey Hewins) Billy Preston was one of the missing member's of the Beatles waiting in the wings..,(Ogf o x 5 7 @ g m a i l . c o m )
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t_heath
Oh so right!!! Best version ever of My Sweet Lord!!!!!
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The best version of My Sweet Lord. All respect to Mr. Harrison.
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My Sweet Lord is a song by English musician and former Beatle George Harrison, released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. Also issued as a single – Harrison's first as a solo artist – My Sweet Lord topped charts worldwide and was the biggest-sell i n g single of 1971 in the UK. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; Wiki
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I pray to this song.
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i remember him in san francisco so good
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I remember when I wrote this song I never thought George Harrison would jack me;(
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Bio
Billy Preston rules
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Believe JESUS LIVES
You must Repent(sin)
Be Born Again(from above)
Baptized with WATER(HOLY SPIRIT)
*978*5m14y~
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he is risen
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Yes! He Is To Me Oh how I Love Jesus Happy Ressurection weekend enjoy everyone tell someone show Love.
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Billy Preston and Leon Russel doesn't get better.....r e a l music....... . . . . !
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You go Billy didn't know he had a version of this song ok nice.
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ne of the truy great ones!
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My jam back in 1972! When I first heard this. I was blown away! Took this to Jr. High and the entire lunch room was dancing!! This man was a genius!
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jlmontigny
edassist - my favorite song of all time from billy as well. This bio does not do the musician or the man justice.
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pam6496
make that B3 Hammond talk to billy throw in the harmonica too.
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I like you
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Richard F. - I am jealous. Saw Leon a # of times back then, also, but never with Billie doin' a keyboard kickout like that.
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petermartin6 5
People need to quit drugs...peri o d . .
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....The Brilliant Billy Preston!!__N o wonder the Beatles and the Stones wanted him...in the Studio...& on Stage...wish you were still here Billy...but we have the music..._FYI . . . . J a g g e r would 'leave-the-s t a g e ' when Billy would do a set with the rest of the Stones....no t everyone would he do 'that' for.....only Billy.....(a n d that was when the Stones were at their 'Peak'...the y still wanted Billy to tour with them.!)..... n o t to overlook his 'stature' as the 'Fifth'-Beat l e . . . .
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Alltel in Jville Fl. with the stones
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delateja72
I loved his keyboard part on the roof top concert.
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Mr Feel Good Music
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I would have loved to see Billy Preston & Leon Russell!!! Must of been incredible.
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teabone19
Yo, let's not forget his work with the Stones!

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I saw Billy playing with Leon Russell back in the 70's.. 2 pianos on stage nose to nose. Wow!!
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peterd929
What needs to be said - it's Billy Preston
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smcdaniel38
I grew up on this music... Thanks Dad, miss you.
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This is a George Harrison song!
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I just love his solo in the Beatles song Get Back.
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katngeo20038
Saw him in Clapton's band in the early 2000's. Exceptional talent and smiled the whole show!
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I recently saw "UNSung" the life of Billy Preston..... I have been listening to his music every since.
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....GOTTA LOVE THE MAN !!!!
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Nothing from nothing; Billy Preston. / Bad as he wants to be! I love this song! Thank you, Lloyd Thompson.
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I saw Billy Preston play in Laramie, Wyoming in 1971 or 1972 and, to this day, it is the best live show I have ever seen.
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acegarage
I always wondered what the Beatles would have morphed into with Billy as the 5th Beatle...... ? ?
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noramornings t a r
K...I'm in crazy funkadellic love
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I think he did a song named "I'll make it with your love" i'm trying to find this song i can't seem to find it .Can u say which album i can find it on or what sight.
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wayne-ksi
Billy Preston will always be one of my favorite soul artists. Though he will be remembered by most as a soul artist, it is a shame that the other accomplishme n t s noted by the those of you here hasn't been acknowledged in this bio. Hats off to all of here and the words you have written.
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@David - you're right....the y skipped all of the rock and roll background and focused on his soul career. For Georgia Harrison to let him sing My Sweet Lord is a testament to his respect among his peers - in all areas of music.
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