- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Apart from various anonymous orchestral players and the Fab Four themselves, a select few musicians can claim to have graced Beatles recordings. Eric Clapton was one (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”). Billy Preston, who died yesterday, was another, contributing mightily to both sides of the single “Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down.”

In addition to being a “fifth Beatle,” Preston was also, in the mid-‘70s, a “sixth Stone,” touring with the band as well as contributing unforgettable keyboard parts to songs like “I Got the Blues,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).”

I say this not to diminish the success he enjoyed as a solo artist, but Preston was, in short, the quintessential sideman. R.I.P.

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