Saturday, June 6, 2015
Musician Billy Preston 2006 Inglewood Park Cemetery
William Everett "Billy" Preston (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006) was an American musician whose work included R and B, rock, soul, funk and gospel. A virtuoso keyboardist, particularly on Hammond organ, Preston was recognized as a top session musician in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and the Beatles. He then went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit pop singles including "That's the Way God Planned It," "Outa-Space," "Will It Go Round in Circles," "Space Race," and "Nothing from Nothing." In addition, Preston co-wrote "You Are So Beautiful", which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker. Preston continued to record and perform with other artists, notably George Harrison after the Beatles' break-up, and Eric Clapton, and he played keyboards for the Rolling Stones on many of the group's albums and tours during the 1970s.
Alongside Tony Sheridan, Preston was the only other musician to be credited on a Beatles recording: the artists on the number-one hit "Get Back" are given as "The Beatles with Billy Preston." Since Sheridan was labeled alongside "The Beat Brothers," Preston is, strictly speaking, the only artist to be labeled explicitly with "The Beatles." Stephen Stills asked Preston if he could use his phrase "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" and created the hit song.
Preston had battled kidney disease in his later years, brought on by his hypertension. He received a kidney transplant in 2002, but his health continued to deteriorate. He had voluntarily entered a drug rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, California, at the suggestion of guitarist Is'real Benton, and suffered pericarditis there, leading to respiratory failure that left him in a coma from November 21, 2005. Preston died on June 6, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona, of complications of malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure and other complications. His funeral was held on June 20 at the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California, where his remains were interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery.