Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing

It's been a tough few days for the keyboard section.

Billy Preston, the pianist and singer often referred to as "the fifth Beatle" due to his legendary contributions to the Fab Four's final live performance (the "rooftop concert" seen in the film Let It Be), has passed on.

Preston played alongside everybody — and I mean everybody — during his long and stellar career. He was considered by many in the industry to be one of the greatest session musicians ever. In addition to his appearances on various latter-period Beatles recordings and solo projects by ex-Beatles (he was the only musician other than John, Paul, George or Ringo to receive label credit on a Beatles single, on "Get Back"), Preston can be heard on most of the Rolling Stones' albums of the early '70s, as well as records by Sly and the Family Stone, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Diamond, even folk-rock guru Bob Dylan.

As a solo artist, Preston enjoyed hits with such songs as "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing," "Outta Space," "I Wrote a Simple Song," "Space Race," and "With You I'm Born Again." He also wrote Joe Cocker's best-known hit, "You Are So Beautiful" (a song vandalized by legions of wedding singers in the decades since Cocker released it).

Now that's a prodigious body of work.

Rest in peace, Sgt. Pepper.

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3 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Donna offered these pearls of wisdom...

Do you suppose Preston's now playing in that band that the Righteous Brothers sang about in their hit "Rock & Roll Heaven"? Both this song and "Nothing From Nothing" were often heard playing on radios during the summer of 1974.

Another Preston favorite of mine is "Ain't No Sunshine" from the summer of 1971. That's the summer I spent with my grandparents and I remember Grandma would let us girls tune in WHOT 100 FM on her radio in the kitchen. Many a dish was washed and wiped dry by us girls to tunes playing from that radio. Grandma called this song the "I Know" song because of Preston's numerous repeats of those two words. Truth be known, Grandma's preference was for Polka music played by a small local station; but she was gracious enough to share her radio with us. It brings back such fond memories.

11:20 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Donna, I'll head this off before another reader does...

"Ain't No Sunshine" was Bill Withers, not Billy Preston.

I still love you, though. :)

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Donna offered these pearls of wisdom...

Yes, I stand corrected & realized my mistake just as I crawled into bed @ 12:14 am this morning! However, I was not going to crawl back out of bed, fire up the old PC & acknowlege my error before you caught it (and I knew that you would!). Maybe I could say I was testing you? Anyway, I know that Bill Withers is a favorite of yours. I knew better than to refer to the song as Preston's.

Hey, it took me three tries over several days to get my 2 cents worth to post! Each time there was some galactic internet snafu when I tried to preview my reply before posting it. Was Blogger.com having hiccups?

"Ain't No Sunshine" still waxes nostalgic for me and after all these years, I still love you too! :)

11:22 AM  

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