Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Celebrate Black Queer Voices: Feb 4 - Billy Preston


I don't think many people recognize this genius by name, but I know people recognize his music.  William Everett Preston aka Billy Preston is probably best known for his songs as a solo artists.  Those include hits like Will It Go Round In Circles and Nothing From Nothing and With You I'm Born Again.  He would pen the hit You Are So Beautiful made famous by crooner Joe Cocker.  But he was also remarkably successful as a studio musician and toured with some of the biggest names on the planet like Sam Cooke, Little Richard, The Beatles and was sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle.

Billy Preston started playing the piano at a very young age.  Growing up in the church, by the age of nine he had perfected the Hammond organ. At the age of ten he did a show with Nat King Cole and was performing on an album with the incomparable Mahalia Jackson.   He recorded his first album at the age of sixteen.  He had music coursing through his veins and was often sought out in the music industry because of his ability turn good songs into great songs.  

In the Unsung documentary about Billy Preson, they discuss his genius, his influence and his sexuality.  Yes, Billy Preston was an openly gay man at the top of the charts during the 70s.  And although he did not live in the closet, I think because he was a "masculine" man, most people were totally unaware of his sexual orientation.  The documentary would also go discuss the demons that plagued this tragic genius - specifically his inability to manage his money and his addictions to alcohol and drugs, these vices that would lead to his downfall and eventually him doing time in jail.

This Unsung episode is currently available on YouTube.  It tells the story about a truly gifted, amazing individual.  Please get into it here:

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