June 07, 2006

Billy Preston, RIP

It’s with some sadness that I read yesterday of the death of singer-songwriter Billy Preston, sometimes referred to as “the fifth Beatle.” While my high-school chums were listening to Duran Duran or .38 Special or something, it wasn’t unusual for me to be listening to black gospel, Earth, Wind & Fire, Motown stuff, or Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing” or "Will It Go Round in Circles.” (Not to mention George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog,” but that’s a story for another day.) At a 2002 “Concert for George” honoring the late Beatle, the old gospel singer Preston did a terrific job with Harrison’s misguided spiritual mantra “My Sweet Lord.”

To this day Susie is mystified and bemused by my musical afrophilia, but she puts up with it.

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