It's just about 8 PM and the polls in California are closing. We just returned from voting and I had to wash my hands immediately. I just felt... dirty.
I turned on the computer to check for email and found that keyboardist and songwriter Billy Preston died today. Preston is perhaps known as the last 5th Beatle. While many musicians have been referred to as the 5th Beatle over the years, it was Preston's presence in the Let it Be sessions - including the infamous roof-top concert (their last performance together) - that cemented his right to that title.
He also performed with, or wrote songs for, dozens of other bands and singers, including the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and Joe Cocker (Preston wrote You Are So Beautiful). He had hits as a solo artist as well, including Outta Space and my favorite, Nothing From Nothing.
Another favorite Billy Preston moment of mine is from George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh. George is introducing the band and finally says, "Have I forgotten anyone? Billy Preston! I've forgotten Billy Preston!"
That minor oversight besides, Billy Preston will not be soon forgotten.
Tags: Billy Preston, Nothing From Nothing, The Beatles, George Harrison, You Are So Beautiful