Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Billy's in his bag

One of the greatest keyboardists of the pop and soul era has died aged just 59. Billy Preston was a teenage prodigy, playing with Little Richard's band at the age of 15. An early instrumental hit was Billy's Bag and his organ playing on Sam Cooke's Little red rooster was exceptional. He went on to make some fine instrumental LPS (eg The most exciting organ ever) and enjoy success as a soul singer in the 70s. He backed just about everyone who was anyone from the Rolling Stones to Aretha Franklin and is best remembered as being the 'fifth Beatle', having met the Beatles in Hamburg in 1962 and played on Let it be and Get back. Drug abuse limited his career, but Billy Preston was undoubtedly one of the most influential instrumentalists of the 60s and 70s.
Farewell also to Johnny Grande, keyboardist and one of the founders of Bill Haley's Comets.

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