06-06-2006, 02:26 PM
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Member Since: Sep 2001
| | Singer-songwriter Billy Preston dead at 59
PHOENIX - Billy Preston, the exuberant keyboardist who landed dream gigs with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and enjoyed his own series of hit singles, including "Outta Space" and "Nothing From Nothing," died Tuesday at 59. |
Preston's longtime manager, Joyce Moore, said Preston had been in a coma since November in a care facility and was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale Saturday after his condition deteriorated.
"He had a very, very beautiful last few hours and a really beautiful passing," Moore said by telephone from Germany. "He went home good."
Preston had battled chronic kidney failure, and he received a kidney transplant in 2002. But the kidney failed and he has been on dialysis ever since, Moore said earlier this year.
Known for his big smile and towering Afro, Preston was a teen prodigy on the piano and organ, and lent his gospel-tinged touch to classics such as the Beatles' "Get Back" and the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?"
He broke out as a solo artist in the 1970s, winning a best instrumental Grammy in 1973 for "Outta Space," and scoring other hits with "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Syreeta Wright.
He also wrote Joe Cocker's weeper, "You Are So Beautiful," and co-wrote with Quincy Jones the score for 1970 movie "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs." Other achievements included being a musical guest on the 1975 debut of "Saturday Night Live," and having a song named after him by Miles Davis. Among his film credits: "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
"In the heart of the night
Oh, down in New Orleans"
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