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BILLY PRESTON  9/9/06 – 6/6/06

“When Billy Preston became The Fifth Beatle, in the recording studio, he became the most well known side men in the in the history of Pop music. I believe that his musical contribution and spirituality kept the Beatles together as a musical force, a little bit longer than they might’ve been otherwise.

When I ran Irving/ Almo music in 1974, I was really looking forward to working with Billy, who was at the peak of his A+M singing career with “Will it Go ‘Round in Circles?” and “Nothing from Nothing Leaves Nothing”. He also was topping the charts as a songwriter with, “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe
Cocker. His manager, Bob Ellis, someone I’d known since moving to California, kept arranging meetings with us, and canceling them when Billy wasn’t feeling “well enough” to make them.

In my career, I represented enough substance-abusing singer/songwriters to know when to turn a blind eye, which meant don’t say anything as long as they kept turning out hits. From then on, Billy kept in touch with me through his co-writer, Bruce Fisher. I remember asking Bruce how the two wrote songs together. He said, “Billy would start the words and music for a song…
usually the first verse or chorus…then hand it to me to finish.”

I never talked to Billy or met him face to face, ’til a few years after I left the publishing company. He came over to my house, with a mutual friend, during a period when he was trying to clean up his act. Billy Preston, the man, turned out to be one of nicest people I’d ever met.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com



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