Session legends: Billy Preston

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Depending on who you ask, Billy Preston is either the fifth Beatle (one of many pretenders to that particular title, but arguably one of the few with a genuine claim), one of the greatest Rolling Stones sidemen ever, or simply a child prodigy who made the most of a phenomenal musical talent.

A gifted organ and piano player, by the age of ten he was out performing with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and by 12 he'd appeared in films and was building a reputation for musicianship that turned the heads of players twice his age. He toured with Little Richard in the early '60s, a stint that would see him meet a fledgling Beatles, and in 1963 played keys on Sam Cooke's final album Night Beat. He backed the Everly Brothers in '65 and The Monkees in '66, before hooking up with The Beatles again in '68 to work on The Beatles (or as most fans know it the White Album). In the end, it was his association with the Fabs that was to cement his reputation as one of the all-time session greats. He linked up with them again on Abbey Road and, most famously, on Let It Be, where he became the only musician to share a credit with the band on Get Back (credited to 'The Beatles with Billy Preston').

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Source: MusicRadar

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