Paul McCartney's living right, I guess. How else could you explain Billy Preston dying before "the divorced Beatle?" I know - Billy wasn't a real Beatle. He wasn't from Liverpool or anything, but he made some of the most Beatle-y music ever recorded. "Let It Be" would not have happened if Billy hadn't shown up to bring the flabby fab four back together. Musically at least.
George brought him in to play, on the record and in front of the cameras. He suggested that Billy was like company, and the lads wouldn't fight in front of company. He played piano on the rooftop with the Beatles in their last live performance - "Get Back." He was the only "non-Beatle" to receive a credit on a Beatles single. He played with George on his Concert for Bangladesh. He played with the Stones. He played with John's solo records. He played on Ringo's solo records.
He won a best instrumental Grammy in 1973 for "Outta Space," and scored hits with "Will It Go 'Round In Circles," "Nothing From Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again," a duet with Syreeta Wright that became a favorite at weddings. He also wrote Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" (which I have covered myself at various Karaoke establishments around the Bay Area). We hope he will be forgiven for his appearances in both "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
But perhaps his most profound impact on popular culture is the answer to the trivia question: "Who was the first musical guest on Saturday Night Live?"