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47TH GRAMMY AWARDS
Billy Preston arrives at the 47th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, February 13, 2005. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen)
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William Everett "Billy" Preston (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006) was an American soul musician from Houston, Texas, raised mostly in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his successful, Grammy-winning career as a solo artist, Preston collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nat King Cole, Little Richard, Eric Burdon, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, Mick Jagger, Richie Sambora, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He played the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the Hammond organ on the Get Back sessions in 1969.

Preston along with Tony Sheridan are the only two non-Beatles to receive billing as an artist alongside the Beatles (as distinct from receiving credit as a session musician on album packaging) on an official Beatles record release. The label of the Get Back single credits the artists on the record as "The Beatles with Billy Preston".

Preston began playing piano while sitting on his mother's lap at age three, and he was considered something of a prodigy on piano and organ. By the age of 10 he was performing in the bands of gospel singers Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. At age 12 he appeared in the 1958 Paramount Pictures film St. Louis Blues, portraying blues composer W.C. Handy as a young man. In the 1960s he performed with Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also began a recording career as a solo artist with the 1965 album The Most Exciting Organ Ever. He was also a regular on the mid-1960s ABC-TV musical variety series Shindig! as a member of the show's house band.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Billy Preston."
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