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William Everett Preston, known professionally as Billy Preston, was an American singer/songwriter/producer/musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. Preston was a session keyboardist for Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Rev. Jame Cleveland and The Beatles. In 1969, Preston was signed to The Beatles’ Apple label where he released his debut album “That’s The Way God Planned It”, which was produced by George Harrison. The title track went on to become a hit in Britain. Preston appeared on several of Harrison’s solo albums, including “All Things Must Pass.” In 1971, Preston left Apple and signed with A&M Records. His debut single for the label, “Outta Space”, was an instrumental track that popularized the use of the clavinet in funk music. The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard R&B chart. Preston served as a keyboardist for The Rolling Stones and also performed as a supporting act with his own band. In 1974, Preston co-wrote one of singer Joe Cocker’s biggest hits, “You Are So Beautiful”, with Bruce Fisher. In 1979, Preston left A&M Records, and signed with Motown. He collaborated with singer Syreeta Wright on the ballad “With You I”m Born Again”, which reached #4 on the U.S. charts. Preston also charted with “Will It Go Round In Circles”, “Nothing From Nothing” and “I Wrote A Simple Song.” He released the albums “16 Yr. Old Soul” (1963), “The Most Exciting Organ Ever” (1965), “Early Hits Of ’65” (1965), “Wildest Organ In Town” (1966), “Club Meeting” (1967), “That’s The Way God Planned It” (1969), “Encouraging Words” (1970), “I Wrote A Simple Song” (1971), “Music Is My Life” (1972), “Everybody Likes Some Kind Of Music” (1973), “The Kids & Me” (1974), “It’s My Pleasure” (1975), “Billy Preston” (1976) “Billy’s Bag” (1976), “A Whole New Thing” (1977), “Late At Night” (1979), “Bill Preston & Syreeta” (1981), “The Way I am” (1981), “Pressing On” (1982), “On The Air” (1984), “You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” (1986), “Billy’s Back” (1995) and “You And I” (2001). Billy Preston died on June 6, 2006, in Scottsdale, AZ. He was 59 years old.

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