picture of Billy Preston
Billy Preston
When Billy (born 1946 in Houston/TX) was three, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Preston began playing piano. Noted as a child prodigy, Preston was entirely self-taught and never had a music lesson. By the age of ten, Preston was playing organ onstage backing several gospel singers. In 1962, Billy joined Little Richard's band as an organist, and it was while performing in Hamburg that he met The Beatles. In 1963, he played the organ on Sam Cooke's Night Beat album. That year, he also released his own debut album. In 1967, he joined Ray Charles' band. Following this exposure, several musicians began asking Billy to contribute to their sessions.
 
Signed to the Beatles' Apple Records label, in 1969, Billy released the album That's the Way God Planned It, produced by Harrison. He appeared on several of Harrison's 1970s solo albums. In 1971, Preston left Apple and signed with Herb Alpert's A&M Records. Following the release of I Wrote a Simple Song on A&M, Preston's solo career peaked at this time. The song reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped Billboard??'?s R&B chart, before going on to win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. "Outa-Space" sold over 1 million copies in America, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in June 1972. Over the next two years, Preston followed up with hits like "Will It Go Round in Circles", "Nothing From Nothing", and "Space Race".
 
From 1970, Billy played keyboards (including piano, organ, clavinet and various synthesizers) for the Rolling Stones. As the band's primary touring keyboardist from 1973 to 1977, he also performed as a support act with his own band on their 1973 European Tour. A München performance was documented in the live album Live European Tour 1973. In 1974, along with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, he composed one of Joe Cocker's biggest hits, "You Are So Beautiful".
 
Preston's solo career began to decline after 1976. After five years with A&M, he signed with Motown Records. In 1980, he duetted with Syreeta Wright on the ballad "With You I'm Born Again", which reached number 4 on the charts in the US. Failing thereafter to match its success, Preston left Motown in 1984 and focused on session work. He served as musical director for Nightlife, a late-night talk show hosted by David Brenner that lasted one season from 1986 – 1987.
 
In 1997, Billy Preston recorded the album You and I, in Italy, with Italian band Novecento. The album was produced by Vaughn De Spenza and Novecento members Lino and Pino Nicolosi. While touring and fighting his own health problems, Preston received the news that on November 29, 2001, George Harrison had died. Billy, among many of Harrison's longtime friends, performed in the 2002 Concert for George at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Ringo Starr called him one of the greatest Hammond players of all time.
 
In 2004, Preston toured with the Funk Brothers and Steve Winwood in Europe, and then with his friend Eric Clapton in Europe and North America. After he finished touring with Clapton, Preston went to France. Preston's final recorded contributions were the gospel-tinged organ on the Neil Diamond album 12 Songs (2005), and his keyboard work on The Road to Escondido (2006) by Eric Clapton and J. J. Cale. In late 2005, Billy made his last public performance, in Los Angeles, to support the re-release of the Concert for Bangla Desh (1972) movie.
 
Billy had battled kidney disease in his later years. He received a kidney transplant in 2002, but his health continued to deteriorate. He died on 06 June 2006, in Scottsdale/AZ.
 
from Wikipedia
contact:
homepage: www.billypreston.net
myspace www.myspace.com/billyispreston

 

Discography
16 Yr. Old Soul
Derby Records LPM-701
released 1963
1969 issued as "Greazee Soul"
recorded February/March 1963 in Hollywood, CA/USA
Billy Preston, piano, organ
Gene Edwards, guitar
Tommy Tedesco, guitar
Cliff Hils, bass
Earl Palmer, drums
Milt Turner, drums
The Most Exciting Organ Ever
Vee Jay Records VJS-1123
released 1964
recorded September 1964
Billy Preston, organ
further details unknown
Early Hits of 1965
Vee Jay Records VJS-1142
released 1965
recorded March to September 1965
Billy Preston, organ
Wildest Organ In Town
Motorola ST2532
released 1966
recorded September 1965
Billy Preston, organ, piano
further details unknown
That's the Way God Planned It
Apple Records ST-3359
released 1969
recorded late 1968 & April-July 1969 in Los Angeles, CA/USA and London/GB
Billy Preston, vocals, piano, organ, piano
George Harrison, guitars, Moog synthesizer, sitar
Eric Clapton, guitar
Keith Richards, bass
Ginger Baker, drums, tambourine
John Barham, string arrangements
Encouraging Words
Apple Records ST-3370
released 1970
Billy Preston, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, keyboards
George Harrison, guitar
Eric Clapton, guitar
Keith Richards, bass
Ginger Baker, drums
Doris Troy, backing vocals
I Wrote A Simple Song
A&R Records SP-3507
released 1971
Billy Preston, keyboards, vocals
Charles Garnett, trumpet
George Harrison, guitar
Patrice Holloway, vocals
Manuel Kellough, drums
King Errisson, congas
Clydie King, vocals
Jesse Kirkland, vocals
Myrna Matthews, vocals
Rocky Peoples, tenor sax
Duane Rogers, vocals
David T. Walker, guitar
Music Is My Life
A&R Records SP-3516
released 1972
Billy Preston, keyboards, vocals
Louis Johnson, bass
Manuel Kellough, drums
George Johnson, guitar
Buck Monari, horn
George Bohanon, horn
Jim Horn, horn
Paul Hubinon, horn
Tom Scott, horn
Hubert Head, keyboards
Campbell Kurban String Section
Everybody Likes Some Kind Of Music
A&R Records SP-3526
released 1973
Billy Preston, vocals, keyboards, bass
Dennis Coates, banjo
Manuel Kellough, drums
David T. Walker, guitar
Hubert Heard, keyboards
Kenneth Lupper, keyboards
Gospel In My Soul
Peacock Records PLP-179
released 1973
Billy Preston, organ, piano
further details unknown
Live In Central Park, NYC
bootleg
recorded 1973
Billy Preston, organ, vocals
Manuel Kellugh, drums
Robert Sam, piano
Grady Manning, bass
George Johnson, guitar
Live European Tour
A&R Records SLAM 68265
released 1974
recorded live on tour 1973
Billy Preston, vocals, Hammond organ, melodica, keyboards
Mick Taylor, guitar
Hubert Heard, keyboards
Kenneth Lupper, keyboards
Manuel Kellough, drums, percussion
The Kids And Me
A&R Records SP-3645
released 1974
Billy Preston, keyboards
Albert Perkins, banjo
Bobby Watson, bass
Joe Walsh, guitar
It's My Pleasure
A&R Records SP-4532
released 1975
Billy Preston, vocals, piano, clavinet, piano, synthesizer
Kenny Burke, bass
Reggie McBride, bass
Rocky Dzidzornu, congas
Ollie Brown, drums
Hari Georgeson, guitar
Kenny Burke, guitar
Shuggie Otis, guitar
Tony Maiden, guitar
Stevie Wonder, harmonica
Syreeta Wright, vocals
Billy Preston
A&R Records SP-4587
released 1976
Billy Preston, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, clavinet, synthesizer
Ollie E. Brown, drums
Kenneth Burke - bass
Alvin Taylor - drums
Steve Beckmeier - guitar
Stephanie Spruill - tambourine
Jeff Beck - guitar
A Whole New Thing
A&R Records SP-4656
released 1977
Billy Preston, keyboards, guitar, bass & percussion, vocals
Eugene Henderson, guitar
Tony Maiden, guitar
Michael McGloiry, guitar
Welton Gite, bass
Keni Burke, bass
Kenneth Moore, keyboards
Truman Thomas, keyboards
Manuel Kellough, drums
Ollie E. Brown, drums
Alvin Taylor, drums
Bobbye Hall, percussion
Angelo Richards, trumpet
Wynell Montgomery, sax
Charles Garnett, trumpet
Behold!
Myrrh MSB-6605
released 1978
recorded 1978 in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Billy Preston, keyboards, vocals
Robert Lee Hill, bass
Preston McRae Wilcox, drums
Ronnie Vann, guitar
Music From The Motion Picture "Fast Break"
Motown M7-915R1
released 1979
Billy Preston, organ, clavinet, piano, lead vocals
Syreeta, lead vocals
Abe Laboriel, bass
Eddie N. Watkins jr
Ed Greene, drums
Ollie E. Brown, drums
Melvin "Wah Wah" Ragin, guitar
Mitch Holder, guitar
Larry Muhoberac, keyboards
Michael Lang, keyboards
David Shire, synthsizer
David Shire, piano
Ernie Watts, alto sax
Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Steve Forman, percussion
Victor Feldman, percussion
Alex Acuna, percussion
Gary Coleman, percussion
Late At Night
Motown M7-925R1
released 1979
Billy Preston, organ, melodica, piano, harpsichord
Chuck Rainey, bass
Kenny Burke, bass
Robert Lee Hill, bass
James Gadson, drums
Ollie E. Brown, drums
David T. Walker, guitar
Paul M. Jackson, guitar
Dorothy Ashby, harp
Bobbye Hall, percussion
Bobby Keyes, sax
Universal Love
Myrrh MSB 6607
released 1980
Billy Preston, organ, piano, keyboards
further details unknown
Standing Tall
MCA 37240
released 1981
recorded 1981 in Van Nuys, CA/USA
Louis Johnson, bass
Marcus Miller, bass
Wilton Felder, bass
"Stix" Hooper, drums, percussion
David T. Walker, guitar
Dean Parks, guitar
Jon Goin, guitar
Larry Carlton, guitar
Reggie Young, guitar
Steve Gibsonguitar
Barry Finnerty, guitar
Joe Sample, keyboards
Billy Preston, organ
Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Wilton Felder, sax
Joe Cocker, vocal
The Way I Am
Motown STML 12148
released 1981
recorded in Detroit, MI/USA
Billy Preston, piano, Hammond organ, vocals
Herman Riley, sax
Steve Lukather, guitar
Charles Fearing, guitar
Marlo Henderson, guitar
Paul Jackson jr., guitar
Trevor Veitch, guitar
David T. Walker, guitar
Greg Poree, guitar
Melvin "Wah Wah Watson" Ragin, guitar
Red Rhodes, guitar
Arthur G. Wright, guitar
David Paich, piano
Steve Porcaro, keyboards
William Bryant, keyboards
Michael Lang, keyboards
David Shire, keyboards
Dave Budimir, synthesizer
Sonny Burke, keyboards
David Hungate, bass
Nathan East, bass
Abraham Laboriel, bass
Reggie McBride, bass
Freddie "Ready Freddie" Washington, bass
Eddie N. Watkins jr., bass
Nathan Watts, bass
Les Hurdle, bass
Marvin Charlot, bass
Jeff Porcaro, drums
Ollie E. Brown, drums
James Gadson, drums
Rick Shlosser, drums
Pressin' On
Motown 6020ML
released 1982
Billy Preston, keyboards, synthesizer
Chuck Rainey, bass
Kenny Lewis, bass
Louis Johnson, bass
Neil Stubenhaus, bass
Gary Ferguson, drums
James Gadson, drums
Steve Schaeffer, drums
David T. Walker, guitar
George Johnson, guitar
Larry Lingle, guitar
Thom Rotella, guitar
Dorothy Ashby, harp
The Heart Attack Horns
Bill Mays, keyboards
Alan Estes, percussion
Bobbye Hall, percussion
Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Victor Feldman, percussion
The Best
A&M Records SP-3205
released 1982
compilation
Billy Preston, Hammond organ, vocals
various artists
On The Air
Megatone M-1014
released 1984
recorded October to December 1983
Billy Preston, Hammond organ, keyboards, piano, vocals
Ralph Benatar, guitar, flute, sax
Larry Lingle, guitar
James "Tip" Wirrick, scratches
Paulinho da Costa, percussion
Bobby Vega, bass
Kenny Burke, bass
Billy's Bag
Topline TOP 164
released 1987
compilation
Billy Preston, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, keyboards
no further details known
The Collection
Castle Communications CCSCD 210
released 1988
compilation
Billy Preston, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, keyboards
no further details known
You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
D&K 86005
released 1990
recorded in Weesp/The Netherlands
Billy Preston, keyboards, vocals
Saskia Laroo, trumpet
Robert Palmer, guitar
Bass - Charles Glenn, bass
Martino Latupeirissa, percussion
The Quiet
Phil Driscoll Music Group 52184 22222
recorded in Hollywood, CA/USA
Phil Driscoll, trumpet, flugelhorn
Michael Thompson, guitar
Bill Mason, piano, organ
Billy Preston, piano, organ
Greg Mathieson, synthesizer
Abraham Laboriel, bass
Bill Maxwell, drums
Alex Acuña, percussion
Ultimate Collection
Hip-O Records 314 541 231-2
compilation
Billy Preston, organ, vocals
no further details known
New Found Freedom
Higher Octave Jazz HOJ42375
recorded in Studio City, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Burbank, CA; Tehachapi, CA; Van Nuys, CA/USA
Tom Scott, alto sax, tenor sax, harmonica, synthesizer
Greg Thomas, tenor sax
John Barnes, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano
Paul Jackson jr., guitar
Craig Chaquico, guitar
Larry McGee, guitar
Phil Upchurch, guitar
Jonathan Butler, guitar
Craig T. Cooper, guitar
George Duke, piano
Gerald McCauley, Fender Rhodes
Jerry Peters, Fender Rhodes
Kurt Clayton, keyboards
Billy Preston, Hammond Organ
Mikael Sandgren, synthesizer
Alex Al, bass
Nathan East, bass
Abraham Laboriel sr., bass
Marcus Miller, bass
Ricky Lawsonm, drums, cymbals
Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Luis Conte, conga, percussion
Carl Anderson, vocals
Michael Cooper, vocals
Daniel Rodriguez, vocals
Ann Nesby, vocals
Valerie Watson, vocals
Soul Derby: Complete Vee Jay Recordings 1964/1965
Vampi Soul VAMPI CD 006
compilation
Billy Preston, organ
no further details known
You And I
Nicolosi Productions NIC 90020
recorded 2005 in Italy
Billy Preston, keyboards
Dora Nicolosi, vocals
Lino Nicolosi, guitar, keyboards
Daniele Comoglio, saxophone
Demo Morselli, trumpet
Rossana Nicolosi, bass guitar
Mimmo Campanale, drums
Angelo Pusceddu, percussion

 
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