The Beatles first met Billy Preston in the fall of 1962. Preston, a musical prodigy, was 16 years old at the time. Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein had secured the Beatles a place as a supporting act for Richard Wayne Penniman, known to all as Little Richard, for a concert in Liverpool . As one of the seminal figures in rock’n roll, Little Richard was one of the Beatle’s idols. Their set list at the time included a number of Little Richard covers. It wasn’t until Jim McCartney, Paul’s Dad, attended the show that he understood where his son had come up with that crazy scream. The Beatles played again with Little Richard and Preston at the Star Club on their fourth visit to Hamburg, Germany a few weeks later. During this time the band took Billy “under their wing” as he we so young.
Billy Preston is the only other musician credited on a Beatle record for “Get Back”. He also appears in the film “Let it Be” and added his signature keyboard to “Something” and “I Want You (She’s so Heavy)” on the Beatles’ final LP “Abbey Road”. Preston appears along with the Beatles for what proved to be their last final public appearance known as the “rooftop” concert included in the “Let it Be” film.
Preston released two albums on the Beatles’ Apple Records and appeared in George Harrison’s “The Concert for Bangladesh” in August 1971. (It was Harrison who brought Preston into the Beatles’ “Let it Be” sessions after meeting up with him at a Ray Charles concert.) Preston went on to have a number of hits in the 70’s. He also played “Sgt: Pepper” in the 1978 Robert Stigwood/Bee Gees' film of the same name.
Little Richard Songs Covered by the Beatles
Long Tall Sally
The Girl Can’t Help It
Rip it Up
Slippin” and Slidin’