Monday, July 18, 2011

Billy Preston & Syreeta - "With You I'm Born Again"

With You I'm Born Again - Ultimate Collection: Billy Preston

(Debuted December 8, 1979, Peaked #4, 28 Weeks on the Chart)

Just as this blog resets to 1980 once again, it's a good time for a song about a rebirth.

"With You I'm Born Again" was a soft ballad from famed keyboardist Billy Preston and Stevie Wonder's ex-wife Syreeta Wright. Both were behind the scenes with some big hits in the 1960s: Preston was given credit with The Beatles for his part in "Get Back" and Wright was a demo singer and occasional backing performer with Motown even before her association with Wonder.

The song was written as the theme to the basketball-themed film Fast Break, a starring vehicle for Gabe Kaplan after he put down the chalk as Mr. Kotter. Let's just say the song was a lot better received than the film was.

The video below is from a live performance on the Top of the Pops TV show in the U.K., which features some additional piano magic from Preston that wasn't on the single and showcases Wright's vocal range. Both singers did a superb job singing, which makes it hard to realize that neither of them are around anymore to perform an encore. Wright passed away in 2004 and Preston followed in 2006.

However, thanks to the magic of recording devices, they'll always be able to entertain us.

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