On this day in 1946, the great musician Billy Preston was born. People know him mostly for his hits like “Nothing From Nothing” and “Will It Go Round in Circles.” But he was a great keyboard player who started playing professionally by the age of ten. At 16, he was playing organ for Little Richard. At 22 he was working with Ray Charles.
He really came to prominence for his work with The Beatles. And most notable about that is his Fender Rhodes part on the song “Get Back.” In fact, according to Wikipedia, the song was credited to, “The Beatles with Billy Preston.”
Shortly before his death, I saw him perform at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. He put on a great show. He was quite a showman in addition to being a great musician. He died much too young.
Here he is at the height of his fame doing “Nothing From Nothing”:
And here he is doing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”:
Happy birthday Billy Preston!