Billy Preston was an American singer-songwriter and keyboard player, best known for his talents on the Hammond organ.
Billy Preston was born in Houston, Texas in 1946, and moved with his family to L.A. when still young. He began to play piano, and became something of a child prodigy, playing organ onstage backing well-known gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson. Aged eleven, he appeared on Nat King Cole's national TV show, singing and playing Fats Domino's hit "Blueberry Hill" alongside Cole. In 1962 he became part of Little Richard's band, and met The Beatles for the first time. In 1963 he played on Same Cooke's Night Beat album, and was offered the chance to record his own solo album on Cooke's SAR Records label.
16 Yr. Old Soul saw release that same year, a lively little album that saw the young Preston's dazzling keyboard skills (on both piano and Hammond organ) take on a set on instrumentals that included covers of "I Can't Stop Loving You" (as done by Ray Charles), Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me" and Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child". A very good (and early) start to what would be a great recording career.
|> The Most Exciting Organ Ever (1965)
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