Billy Preston is an essential part of the fabric of rock & roll. He blazed a path with the smoking sounds of his B3 organ, the funky rhythms of his clavinet, and the exciting tones of his gospel-inspired vocals and piano.
Hall of Fame Essay
Billy Preston’s musical excellence deserves our unbridled celebration. But for all his work in the trenches of the recording studio and the stage, his excellence must never, ever be taken as a substitute for his bright spirit. Because that luminous spirit is at the very heart of his excellence. Preston artfully harnessed a prodigious musical intellect coupled with masterful hands and added the perfect amount of American musical seasoning to every endeavor. For over forty years, his exquisite collaborations knew no cultural or ethnic bounds, including such diverse artists as the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Luther Vandross, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Eric Clapton, Sly and the Family Stone, Elton John, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, and many more. But it was his work with the Beatles that canonized him.
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