Billy Preston -
Rhythm and Blues Star Dies of Kidney Failure
June 7th, 2006
Billy Preston died this past Tuesday at the age of 59 years. He was a
considered by many an unofficial “fifth Beatle.” His music career has
been very widespread and respected by many. Jazz legend, Miles Davis,
named a song “Billy Preston” in honor of him.
When Preston was a teenager he performed with greats such as Mahalia
Jackson, Little Richard, and Ray Charles. In 1969 he performed with the
Beatles. Preston and the Beatles released a single together “Get Back”
with “Don’t Let Me Down” on the flipside. The credit on this record
said “The Beatles with Billy Preston.” He later joined in the Beatles
last concert of that year in London. He also played on the 1970 Beatles
album “Let It Be.”
Preston continued to be popular as a solo act in the 1970’s. He
worked with the Rolling Stones. He is a co-songwriter for Joe Cocker’s
1974 hit song “You Are So Beautiful.”
According to Wikipedia, in the 1980’s he had a downturn in his music
career and was arrested and convicted for insurance fraud for setting
his own home on fire in Los Angeles. He also had drug and alcohol
addictions. In 1991 he was charged with cocaine and assault charges.
His sentence included 9 months in rehab and 3 months house arrest.
The 1980s were lean years for Preston. He was arrested and convicted for
insurance fraud after setting fire to his own house in Los Angeles, and
he was treated for alcohol and cocaine addictions. In 1991, he entered
no-contest pleas to the cocaine and assault charges. He was sentenced to
nine months at a drug rehabilitation center and three months of house
Other artists that Preston worked with through the years were George
Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly
Stone, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, and Red Hot Chili
His final musical contribution was playing a Gospel inspired organ for
Neil Diamond’s album, “12 Songs.”
In 2002, Preston had a kidney transplant due to kidney disease. His
health condition continued to progressively get worse over the years.
On November 21st of 2005 he went into a coma. He died on
June 6th, 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona from complications of
malignant hypertension caused by the kidney failure.
Billy Preston CD's at Amazon
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