Billy Preston — a beautiful soul, extraordinary musician, the “fifth Beatle” because he was the only artist ever to share a credit with the Fab Four– on “Get Back.” If you can find the “Let it Be” movie online, you’ll see Billy playing with the Beatles on the rooftop. Next year when the Peter Jackson documentary about “Let it Be” is released, Billy will be over it.
Billy would have turned 74 today. But he died on June 6, 2006 after several months in a coma following medical mishaps. His estate, believe it or not, is still not settled. He’s also still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame despite being a famed sideman and then a hit act on his own. There isn’t a day that goes by anywhere in this world when “Nothing from Nothing” or “Will it Go Round in Circles” isn’t played somewhere. Billy also famously co-wrote the smash hit, “You Are So Beautiful.”
Some other little Billy musical factoids: he gave Stephen Stills the title for “Love the One You’re With” and he invented the hook for the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” Yes, and he’s not in the Rock Hall.
Billy’s estate has been plagued by a 14 year court battle in which avaricious relatives who he thought he’d shaken off are still trying to get their hands on his money. One of them doesn’t even have a birth certificate proving her relation to him and no photos of their alleged childhood together. But it never ends. As I’ve written in the past, one of Billy’s half sisters– now deceased– filed a probate notice on him three days before he died. He was still very much alive. She must have been clairvoyant. That sister’s son in law, who was her lawyer, resigned from the bar for other reasons.
Will it go round in circles? Apparently.
Billy Preston was as vibrant a music star as you could hope to know. His wide grin was his heart on his sleeve. He never stopped smiling. Happy birthday, Billy!
Nothing from Nothing