The music world was in mourning today after the death of keyboard legend Billy Preston.
Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger described the 59-year-old, who died in Phoenix, Arizona, as a “fantastic and gifted musician”.
Preston, who had been in a coma since November after battling with chronic kidney failure, worked with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as having his own series of hit singles.
A former teen prodigy on the piano and organ, Preston lent his gospel touch to classics such as the Beatles’ “Get back” and the Stones’ “Can’t you hear me knocking?”
He had success as a solo artist in the 1970s, winning a 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”.
He also penned Joe Cocker’s “You are so beautiful”, among other hits.
Jagger said: “Billy was a fantastic and gifted musician…. A superb singer in both recording sessions and on-stage. He was great fun to be with on-stage when touring with us and I will miss him a lot.”
Earning the nickname the “fifth Beatle”, Preston was involved with the Let It Be and Abbey Road albums as well as the White Album and even took part in the group’s final rooftop concert.
In later years he made a cameo appearance in Blues Brothers 2000 as part of a supergroup which also included Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood and BB King.
He confirmed his Beatles connection in a tribute concert for George Harrison at Royal Albert Hall.