Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Billy Preston Finally Gets His Due as the Fifth Beatle in New Video for “Let it Be”


The great Billy Preston finally gets his due as the Fifth Beatle in the new video for “Let it Be.”

Billy played on the “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be” albums, but got little credit for it at the time. When Michael Lindsay-Hogg put together the original “Let it Be” film, he cut Billy out entirely.

It was only when Peter Jackson made the “Get Back” miniseries from all of Lindsay-Hogg’s footage that Billy came back into the picture.

Now with the new “Let it Be” — airing on Disney Plus — we see lost footage of Billy integrated back into the title song. It’s a nice vindication. It wasn’t like the group didn’t love Billy — he’s the only artist to share a credit with them, on the single “Get Back” — but no one realized what had happened in the original film cut.

The mix on this “new” version is excellent, too. George’s guitar soars. (John and Ringo look a little bored.) There’s also a clip of George Martin on percussion. “Let it Be” is one of the greatest songs of all time. What a pleasure to see it restored.

“Let it Be” was released 54 years ago on May 13, 1970.

Billy went on to have his own massive hits with songs like “Will it Go Round in Circles” and “Nothing from Nothing.” He co-wrote “You Are So Beautiful” and “With You I’m Born Again.” His life was all about his music which, hopefully, will be reflected in a documentary coming later this year. (We’re keeping an eye on that one.)

PS Billy and Al Green recorded a duet of “You’ve Got a Friend” in the manner of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. One of my favorites.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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