June 6, 2014

In memory of the great singer-songwriter and performer Billy Preston, the "Fifth Beatle", who passed 8 years ago on June 6, 2006.

At a young age, acts like Little Richard, Mahalia Jackson or James Cleveland had a huge impact on him. He was then actually mentored by Ray Charles with whom he went to Germany in the early 60s. This is where he first met The Beatles who were the opening act, and as the story goes Preston was the one who made sure they got fed. Some years later Preston was named the Fifth Beatle as he played keys on Let it Be, The White Album, Abbey Road, amongst others. But he also played on the Rolling Stones's hit Miss You, appeared regularly with Eric Clapton, and did the organ work on the greatest hits of Sly & the Family Stone. More recently, he can be heard on albums by Neil Diamond and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His last recorded live concert was in 2004 at Megabien´s Legends Rock TV show in the south of France.

Preston´s own hits includ Nothing from Nothing, Will it Go Round in Circles, and You Are So Beautiful, which Joe Cocker turned into a global hit. He became the first act signed to Apple Records thanks to George Harrison resulting into the album That's the Way God Planned It.

Billy was not only a spectacular, genius performer and songwriter who put everything into the music, but also a wonderful human being with a mile wide smile and open heart.