William Everett Preston (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006) was an American musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. Preston was a top session keyboardist in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Rev. James Cleveland and The Beatles. He went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit singles such as “That’s the Way God Planned It”, “Outa-Space”, “Will It Go Round in Circles”, “Space Race”, “Nothing from Nothing” and “With You I’m Born Again”. Additionally, Preston co-wrote “You Are So Beautiful”, which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker.
Preston was one of five musicians credited on a Beatles recording other than the group’s four members. Preston continued to record and perform with other artists, notably George Harrison after the Beatles’ breakup, and Eric Clapton, and he played keyboards for the Rolling Stones on many of the group’s albums and tours during the 1970s.
Preston had suffered kidney disease in his later years, brought on by his hypertension. He received a kidney transplant in 2002, but his health continued to deteriorate. He had voluntarily entered a drug rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, California, at the suggestion of guitarist Is’real Benton, and suffered pericarditis there, leading to respiratory failure that left him in a coma from November 21, 2005. Preston died on June 6, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona.