Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good Peeps: Billy Preston

"Will It Go Round In Circles?"

Billy Preston (aka the "Fifth Beatle") first met the band as a bright-eyed 15 year old in Hamburg, Germany, nearly 7 years before he would be given songwriting credits on The Beatles 1969 single "Get Back." Billy was on tour with Little Richard at the time, after having established himself as a bonafide keyboard prodigy: at age 10 he was playing organ with gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, and at age 12 he played W.C. Handy himself in the film St. Louis Blues.

During the tumultuous recording sessions for Let It Be, George Harrison called Billy in to the studio to provide some fresh creativity and to lighten the mood. The results speak for themselves. After gaining fame with the Beatles, Preston was signed to Apple records. He released a slew of solo albums, while at the same time becoming one of the most sought-after studio musicians on the planet. In 1975, he was asked to be the music guest (along with Janis Ian) on the first ever episode of Saturday Night Live.

Yes, Billy Preston had a long and fruitful career. But in our opinion, no two videos sum up his career better than the two posted below. In the first, a young Billy is singing and dancing with Ray Charles and goes nuts on the beat. The second video is for his Grammy-winning track "Outa-Space," which looks like it would have been a fun video shoot to be a part of: a bunch of his friends crammed into his practice space and proceeded to get DOWN! Be sure the check out the career-spanning and genre-jumping Ultimate Collection to get a better feel for Billy's work.

"Agent Double O Soul" (featuring some of the sickest dance moves ever recorded)



Will said...

bout fuckin time you guys talk about beatle shit...

i would live in billy's fro.

McG said...

nice post mort, but the fifth beatle was sir george martin, brah

Mort said...

eat it:

McG said...

so apparently there are like 67 'fifth beatles' although the dark horse, george himself, said at their hall of fame induction that the only two 'real' fifth beatles were derek taylor and neil aspinall.