This Day in Black History: Sept. 2, 1946

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 13:   Musician Billy Preston performs during the "Jammin for Ray" Post-Grammy Party following the 47th Annual Grammy Awards at Spago's Restaurant on February 13, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

This Day in Black History: Sept. 2, 1946

Grammy Award-winning musician Billy Preston was born on Sept. 2, 1946, in Houston, Texas.

Published September 2, 2014

John, Paul, George and Ringo are the names that come to most people's minds when they think of Britain's enormously popular Beatles.

But singer, songwriter and performer Billy Preston, was the honorary "Fifth Beatle," because of his contributions on the keyboard to Let it Be, Abbey Road and The White Album. Born on Sept. 2, 1946, William Everett "Billy" Preston began studying piano at age three and at ten executed his craft for the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

Ray Charles, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone are among the many artists and groups with whom the gifted Preston, whose talents spanned genres, collaborated over the years. He also had his own share of hits, including "Nothing From Nothing," "Will It Go Round in Circles" and "You Are So Beautiful."

Film credits include the 1958 biopic St. Louis Blues, Blues Brothers 2000 and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Preston, who for years battled chronic kidney failure, died in June 2006 at age 59.

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(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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