June 06, 2006

From The Guardian

Billy Preston, Keyboard Player With The Beatles, Dies At 59
Sam Jones
Jun 7 2006

Billy Preston, the songwriter and keyboard prodigy whose soulful playing graced records by Little Richard, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, died in Arizona yesterday aged 59.

He had been in a coma since November, when years of drug use caught up with him and he suffered kidney failure.

Although Preston played with the likes of Mahalia Jackson and Ray Charles while still a teenager, he was best known for the work he did with the Beatles in 1969, just as the band was beginning to disintegrate. He played on both sides of the Get Back/Don't Let Me Down single, and became the only musician to be rewarded by the band with a co-credit on the label.

He also accompanied them during their last concert that year, on the roof of Apple Studios in London. Preston also contributed to many Beatles solo albums, including George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, John Lennon's Sometime in New York City and Ringo Starr's Sentimental Journey. His credits with the Rolling Stones included the albums Sticky Fingers and Black and Blue.

In the early 1970s, Preston topped the charts as a solo act with the Grammy-winning instrumental Outa Space. He also wrote Joe Cocker's 1974 hit You Are So Beautiful. He became a fixture with the Rolling Stones around the same time, recording tracks such as Can't You Hear Me Knocking and Heartbreaker, and playing on several tours.

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