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IT'S ALIVE: Billy Preston "Will It Go Round In Circles" (The Midnight Special, 1973)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

Today we remember keyboardist, singer, and songwriter Billy Preston. He was a highly sought after session musician throughout the 1960s, having played on songs for artists from Sam Cooke to Little Richard, and even the Rolling Stones. In 1969, George Harrison invited Preston to join the Beatles in the studio, leading Lennon to suggest he actually join the group (though McCartney disregarded the idea). He is one of only two artists (with Tony Sheridan) to receive credit on a Beatles song (the band requested "Get Back" be credited as "The Beatles with Billy Preston"). Because of his connection to the band, he sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Beatle" or "Black Beatle".

Preston was born in Houston, Texas before relocating to Los Angeles with his mother as a child. He never received training as a musician, and was regarded as a child prodigy; by the age of ten, he was already playing behind gospel music icon Mahalia Jackson. After his time spent working with the Beatles, he enjoyed a successful solo career in the 1970s with hits like "Nothing from Nothing" and the Grammy-award winning "Outa-Space". This video finds him performing another one of his hits "Will It Go Round In Circles" on The Midnight Special in 1973.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org

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