Billy Preston isn’t a name you would have heard of and probably wouldn’t know what part he played in music history.
I was mulling over some time today and listening to some Beatles songs and it got me thinking about their infamous roof top concert they played at the end of the 60s. I was reminding myself of how much I love the song their performed called ‘Don’t let me down’. It was during this performance I noticed a man playing keyboards and wanted to know who he was and what connecting he had to the band.
My first reaction to him was that I loved the hair. But who was he and where did come from? His name was Billy Preston and he was born in Houston, Texas and his family eventually moved to Los Angeles where Billy was a renowned child prodigy as his keyboard skills had got him work with Little Richard as his keyboardist (their name not mine). It was while performing in Hamburg in the early 60s he met the Beatles.
Billy hooked up with the band again just as they were breaking up at the end of the decade and he played during the ‘Get Back sessions’ and kept the band together for what would be some of their final work.
He struggled all through his life with sexuality, knowing he was gay, which was in direct conflict with his strict evangelical Christianity. It must have been terrible of him knowing that who he was in a life which would have been fraught with guilt and self-loathing as homosexuality to those around him was a grave sin.
During the latter years of his life he struggled with drugs as it was a way of coping with the sexual abuse he suffered a child. It didn’t help his well-being that his mother did not believe him when he disclosed the abuse he had experienced.
Billy passed away in 2006 as a result of hypertension and pericarditis. He was 59.
In some ways the world has made great steps in LGBT inclusivity but still there remains pockets of hatred and ignorance when read of stories where people have been attack or worse killed because of their own sexuality.
I haven’t posted in a while and this is not like me. Here goes I will let you know why.
Lots of things have been happening in my life and in the world. I am shocked that each day we seem to wake up to one tragedy or another only for it to be replaced by something more horrendous.
I have been trying to put together the first of my videos for a YouTube channel then after days of working on something I get distracted and something else seems to take over. Concentration levels are not the best at the moment.
I always seem to conquer it with lists and notes and lots of music piled on top of it. Listening to music as regular readers will know is a great passion of mine and has kept me motivated in a lot of things.
She’s beautiful and he’s beautiful – great song
I have been to a few pride events and I have decided I am not a fan. There are many reasons why and I know that some might not agree.
I attended my first Pride march last year in Newcastle and the second was in Prague. Both great times and it was a great atmosphere to be experienced. What I don’t like about Pride is that they are always trying to recreate a club atmosphere but in the middle of a park.
I hate clubbing. I was watching a documentary the other day about the rave scene in the late 80s I remember even back then I had no desire to stand and wave my arms around to music in the middle of an abandoned warehouse with a lot of people I didn’t know. I despised being charged a fortune to stand in the middle of THE hottest dance floor buying the most expensive drinks.
So it took me to get the age that I am now to realise that pride events are very similar and I prefer the fringe events. I would rather sit and chat in a pub or read a book. Discussion on LGBT issues rather than listening to someone who was famous once 20 years ago and hasn’t had a hit record since.
The LGBT community has a problem with age. In a society where people are obsessed with youth and beauty eg. Tom Daley and treat older people with a cordial but patronising sigh when we think of people such as Sir Ian McKellen.
I will always support the need to highlight that we don’t live in a perfect country. There are countless places in the world that you can lose your life if you are gay. There should be more information about the struggle for acceptance and the support for those who lives are blighted by homophobic abuse.
I am saddened and upset that someone should take their own life no matter the circumstances or how life seems it isn’t the answer.
Firstly, I have been there where I thought that ending it all was the option. The only option. It isn’t something I took on the whim of a moment but something that was very real and very personal.
A young lad sadly took his own life in my home town of Chester-le-Street and I posted the news on the facebook page I run about the town. I have written about the problem of suicide in the UK and how over six thousand people a year take their own lives.
The number of suicides is slowly reducing but it is my opinion still very high. People don’t realise that words can do so much damage especially in times when people are feeling vulnerable and near to doing something that could put their own lives at risk. It’s not right to tell the person that everything is going to be alright or they should ‘cheer up’. In that very moment the person is feeling 0% of that. They do not see a way out of it.
I don’t know how to but I want to help. I feel helpless that people are still taking their own lives. Even if it helps by writing this post and realising that you are NOT alone in those feelings I hope that I can do something.
There are organisations out there that can help and in my experience its always good to have someone you can trust and talk to when you are feeling low. These sort of friends are invaluable people who can guide you through tough times.
Even if you don’t feel you can share something so personal telling someone in the medical field can also give you a lifeline in a desperate time.
From my own experience keeping the NHS 111 number in your phone. Knowing that you might have other numbers is also a good way of knowing you have something to fall back upon like the Samaritans 116 123. They are fully trained and not there to judge but to listen and provide an amazing lifeline to those in need of help.
I have often seen films that have been reworked and remastered. Films like Casablanca and Brief Encounter. When you watch films like that it takes you back to the time when you first saw them in the cinema. Why not music videos?
Music videos are a recent phenomena that only really took off a few decades ago yet the youtube generation seem to lap up these short films with such speed I always wondered why artists didn’t go back to the original material and put out better quality versions of their songs.
I have many times bought albums that have been remastered for the sounds that were once deemed to complicated and you were only going to get the true quality and realism of a song if you were sitting in the studio listening to it there. We have the capability of reworking songs and albums and it proves such a lucrative market for fans eager to experiencing the true sounds.
So why not the videos? I read that a lot of the videos from the 80s and 90s where shot on video tape rather than films and difficult to remaster to HD level unlike film which can be seen in a higher resolution up to 12k.
I know that some bands have remastered some of their videos. I hope that in the next few years we will see a resurgence of music videos fit to be played on HD and Ultra HD televisions.