The Challen upright piano pictured above – covered in coffees stains and cigarette burns – comes from Studio Three at Abbey Road Studios, where it used between the years of 1964 to 1980 in recording sessions by The Beatles as well as other bands, such as Pink Floyd. Imagine the stories this piano would tell if it could speak! Think back on any Beatles’ song with a memorable piano riff (“Martha My Dear,” which Paul McCartney wrote about his sheep dog, comes to mind) and chances are high this piano is the one making that sound. The piano goes up for sale on August15, 2010 at Vintage Goodwood, West Sussex, UK where it’s expected to fetch as much as £150,000 at auction.
On This Date, January 30th, in 1969: The Beatles (accompanied by Billy Preston) performed their final concert on the rooftop of Apple’s offices in London. The played “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “The One After 909” and “I Dig A Pony.” The performance was halted 42 minutes into their set due to noise complaints.
On June 6th, 2006, Billy Preston, often known as the fifth Beatle, passed away at the age of 59. Preston was recruited to record with The Beatles by George Harrison and performed on The White Album, Let it Be and Abbey Road. He also played with major artists like Neil Diamond, Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones, wrote the Joe Cocker 1974 hit “You Are So Beautiful” and had a dozen or so hits of his own. My personal favorite was “Will It Go ‘Round In Circles,” which was a #1 hit when I was 12.
Preston had been in a coma since November 2005, after suffering kidney failure brought on by a lifelong drug addiction. Rest In Peace.