Fifth Beatle Dies

Billy Preston, the exuberant US gospel singer-songwriter who landed gigs with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, and Mahalia Jackson has died.
Often described as the ?fifth Beatle?, Preston lent his gospel-tinged touch to the Abbey Road and Let It Be sessions scoring a label credit on the single of Get Back.
His biggest Australian hits were “That’?s The Way God Planned It” (1969) and “With You I?m Born Again” (1980) with Syreeta, plus “You Are So Beautiful,” which he wrote for Joe Cocker.
Preston recorded five gospel albums throughout his career: Hymns Speak From The Organ (1965), Behold! (1978), Universal Love (1980), Minister of Music (1995) and Words And Music (1996).
Gospel tunes such as Make The Devil Mad (Turn On To Jesus) found their way to his mainstream albums.
Andrae Crouch hailed him as ?the best keyboard player in the world?.
Sadly, Preston?’s final years were marred by personal troubles including a prison term.
?”It (jail) was a great lesson, an awakening,”? Preston said after his release. “I needed to reflect, to get rid of some of the dead weight around me.”
?”You take the bitter with the sweet and I have to say it was my faith that kept me going. I had nothing else to fall back on,”? he concluded.
Preston died last Tuesday (6 June) aged 59 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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