Our Man Elli in Israel, far-flung correspondent and subject of the documentary project Sex & Baseball, emails an appreciation of "Fifth Beatle" Billy Preston:
you know how they have lists of players who played for the yankees and mets, white sox and cubs, dodgers and angels? billy preston is in a league all his own: played for the beatles, stones, dylan, ray charles, little richard, aretha, and clapton. the all-time utility all-star.
That’s the ”baseball.” We, sadly, remember the sex. Interesting that his inititial obits left out the fact that he wrote “You Are So Beautiful,” and the bizarre episode in 1991, when Billy was arrested in Malibu for sexually attacking a 16-year-old boy and showing him dirty pictures. He pleaded no-contest to cocaine and assault charges and was sentenced to nine months in rehab and three months of house arrest. He later wound up in prison.
We remember seeing Billy perform with the Stones at Madison Square Garden in 1975. When Billy played his solo spot, Mick Jagger distracted the audience by swinging on a trapeze. Watching Billy perform from the front row at the New Haven Coliseum a couple of years earlier, we realized he was wearing an Afro wig.
A tip of the wig to Billy, and a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Our Man Elli.