Two for Tuesday: Billy Preston

Billy Preston only put four songs in the Top Ten while I was in high school, but they combined for 27 weeks and he had two Number One hits and another that reached #2, so he definitely deserves a mention.

Of his four Top Ten songs, two were instrumentals, “Outa-Space” and “Space Race.” The latter reached #4 and spent six weeks in the Top Ten. The former reached #2 and also spent six weeks in the Top Ten. Here is “Outa-Space,” from 1972. Whoever did the video was a genius…

His two vocal hits both hit #1, with “Nothing From Nothing” spending seven weeks in the Top Ten and “Will It Go Round In Circles” spending eight. From 1973, “Will It Go Round In Circles.” The video is from Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special, so I remember the first time it aired.

Billy was a remarkable keyboard player and singer. He played with The Beatles in the Let It Be sessions, and I think it was John Lennon who suggested, only half-jokingly, that Billy join as a full member. One wonders what difference he would have made if he had.

Here’s a video of an eleven-year-old Billy on Nat King Cole’s show in 1957. Yep, he had it then.

Billy died in 2006 at the age of 59 from complications of malignant hypertension that caused kidney failure.

Billy Preston, your Two for Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

22 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Billy Preston

  1. I remember Billy Preston. He was very talented and I loved his song Will it go Round in Circles. I didn’t realize he died that young. It seems many musicians die too young.


  2. I didn’t know this man died so young and it was pretty cool to see him on the Nat King Cole show…he was very talented


    1. I always turn it off. I’d rather misspell a word than say something I didn’t mean. I went to Catholic grammar school, where the nuns were spell check…


  3. Somewhere I have a 45 hour of Outa Space. Billy Preston was truly gifted. I hadn’t realized he died so young.


    1. That’s a hell of a band on that one: Doyle Bramhall II on slide, Chris Stainton on piano, Nathan East on bass, and I couldn’t see the drummer, but it might have been Jim Keltner, plus Eric and Billy… it don’t get much better than that…

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