As Deadline reports, Fifth Beatle will be the title of a new feature documentary about Billy Preston, one of modern music’s legends and “the only non-member ever to be credited on a Beatles recording.”
The site adds, that he had plenty of his own hits and co-wrote the song Joe Cocker made famous, “You Are So Beautiful.” Billy Preston was inducted this past weekend into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 15 years after his death in 2006.
The film will be directed by Paris Barclay, the multi-Emmy-winning director, producer, and writer (In Treatment, Glee, Sons of Anarchy) and co-written by Cheo Hodari Coker (Creed II, Luke Cage, Ray Donovan).
Commenting on the film, Stephanie Allain, its producer said: “A singular figure in music history, Billy Preston lent his genius to elevate the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century. Grateful to work with this team, using this soundtrack to explore his personal journey and finally place him front and center.” Barclay said, “the Billy Preston we know was an incomparable musician, but the Billy we’ll see in this documentary was a mass of contradictions. I’m thrilled to dig deeper into the complex man under the Afro, and behind the famous smile.”
As Deadline notes, a self-taught prodigy keyboard player, Preston was just 16 when he met the not-yet-famous Beatles while playing for Little Richard while they toured Hamburg in 1962. He befriended the young, impoverished band by sneaking them food and drinks. Later in the ’60s, this led to Preston playing on The Beatles’ Let It Be and Abbey Road albums as a credited musician, and performing with the Beatles in their last live performance as a group ― the famous Roof Top concert.