He expired on June 6, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The family moved to La, California, when Preston was quite youthful. It was in L.A. that Preston started playing the piano, at the age of 3. By age 10, he was playing the organ behind gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson. He also appeared on television as well as in the movie St. Louis Blues.
In 1962, Preston joined Little Richard’s touring group. He met the Beatles while performing together with the group in Hamburg, and started recording soon afterwards. In 1963, he played to the classic Sam Cooke record Night Beat. In 1967, he joined Ray Charles’s group, acquiring publicity that heightened interest in Preston as a studio musician.
One of the groups that recruited Preston were the Beatles, who requested him to play on their records Abbey Road and Let It Be. Preston made substantial contributions to the tracks “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Something.” He performed together with the group in their well-known closing performance on a rooftop, as well as in 1978, he appeared as Sgt. Pepper in the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Preston recorded as a solo musician for the Beatles’ label, Apple Records, and for A&M. In October 1975, Preston appeared as the musical guest on the initial episode of Saturday Night Live. He also continued to tour and record with groups like the Rolling Stones in this time. Preston’s work affected musicians past the world of rock, soul and funk.
After 1976, Preston’s career began to wane, however he continued to work as both a studio musician and songwriter. He rallied in the 1990s, touring and recording by himself and with old pals including Ringo Starr, Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton for the rest of his profession.
Preston fought with drug abuse in the 1990s and was detained several times. In 1991, he was convicted of insurance fraud after placing his home on fire. The exact same year, he was arrested for sexually attacking a teenaged boy. Preston was treated for cocaine abuse following both arrests. Kidney disease and hypertension harassed Preston in his later years. A kidney transplant in 2002 failed to solve his medical issues.