Keyboardist Billy Preston Recovering from Infection

A USA Today report noted that Scottsdale, Arizona resident Billy Preston, 59, is “recovering from a serious infection of the sac encasing his heart.” He “remains seriously ill and cannot speak because he has a tracheotomy.” Preston had a kidney transplant some years ago but the kidney failed, placing him on dialysis. I’m sure Preston could use all our prayers at this challenging time.

The brief article mentions Preston’s organ work on the Beatles’ hit “Get Back.” I first heard of Preston in the early 70s from his hit singles “Will It Go Round in Circles,” “Space Race,” and “Nothing From Nothing,” but it must be noted that Preston is steeped in gospel music, having accompanied on Hammond organ some of the finest artists in the business, including James Cleveland and the Cleveland Singers, the Gospel Pearls w/Bessie Griffin, Doris Akers, and Cassietta George. He recorded a solo LP of organ genius for Vee Jay in the mid-60s.

Anthony Heilbut confirmed that Preston’s mother is Roberta (Bobbie) Preston, who sang with Los Angeles’ Voices of Victory Choir and the Lillian Randolph Singers.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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