R.I.P. Billy Preston

The great keyboardist, singer and songwriter Billy Preston has died at age 59. He suffered from kidney failure and had received a transplant that didn't take. He was on dialysis for a long time. Roger Friedman has more on Billy Preston's website.

Among his credits (received from TL commenter Rocker):

1970) Let It Be -- including "Get Back"
(1970) All Things Must Pass (George Harrison)
(1971) Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones)
(1971) The Concert for Bangla Desh (George Harrison And Friends)
(1971) There's a Riot Goin' On (Sly & the Family Stone)
(1972) Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones)
(1973) Goats Head Soup (Rolling Stones)
(1974) It's Only Rock'n Roll (Rolling Stones)
(1975) Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan)
(1975) "You Are So Beautiful" (Joe Cocker's biggest hit)
(1976) Black and Blue (Rolling Stones)

From the People article:

Known for his big smile, the Houston-born Preston was a teen prodigy on the piano and organ. After lending his gospel-tinged touch to the music of the Beatles and the Stones, Preston broke out as a solo artist in the '70s, 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 penned the Joe Cocker standard "You Are So Beautiful," and co-wrote with Quincy Jones the score for 1970 movie They Call Me Mr. Tibbs. He was the first musical guest on the 1975 debut of Saturday Night Live, and appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

From Jonathan Tully:

If the right song moved him, nothing kept Billy Preston away from playing. Last year, although he was sick in bed with a heart ailment, Mr. Preston guested on clavinet on the track Warlocks from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' recently released Stadium Arcadium. As Flea told Contact Music, "He got out of bed, played and got back in bed."

R.I.P. Mr. Preston, and thank you for the great, great music.

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    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 08:52:24 PM EST
    wow...just saw him on the "Concert for George" DVD. those live hammond organ riffs and Fender- Rhodes piano parts on the "Let It Be" album really added some feeling sometimes lacking on those too-slick Beatles recordings. sad end to a joyful sound.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#2)
    by norbizness on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 09:01:29 PM EST
    A true success story from my hometown of Houston, TX; he was actually a gospel, then rock/jazz organist and put out some terrific albums in the mid-60s, including my personal favorite: Wildest Organ in Town! (1966)

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 09:20:08 PM EST
    What a talent. Rest in peace Billy.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jun 06, 2006 at 11:07:10 PM EST
    His run in the 70s was just awesome. His work with the Stones helped make them worthy of their name. 'World's Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band'. I spent hundreds of nights listening to him play on those albums with my friends. Unforgetable experience.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:16:57 AM EST
    His vast musical talents aside...one of the coolest afros of all time, just perfectly symetrically huge.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:01:49 AM EST
    Crooks and liars has a great video of his "That's the Way God Planned it."

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#7)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 03:29:08 PM EST
    Not fair. Too young. He always seemed to be enjoying himself so much. Maybe it was his smile. It's not fair.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 04:46:36 PM EST
    I also posted about Billy at my place,, and also at the HuffPo blog. I worked with Billy several times at Capitol Studios, he was a lovely man, and no one played B3 better. No one. He was the best.

    Re: R.I.P. Billy Preston (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 09:42:36 AM EST
    RIP Billy... He will be missed!