With You I Am Born Again performed by Billy Preston & Syreeta Wright (1979)

Billy Preston & Syreeta Wright

It is hard to believe that this beautiful duet is over a quarter of a century old. And yet it is still a standard played on all “soft rock” stations every day in 2007.

Billy Preston (1946-2006), keyboard player for both the Beatles and the Stones, was known as the “Fourth Beatle” before getting his big break as a solo artist in the early seventies. “With You I’m Born Again”, from his “Late at Night” lp, was his biggest chart action since the string of hits he had for A&M in the early to mid-’70s. This Motown version, of the song from the film Fast Break, ended up being an adult contemporary and gospel and rhythm & blues and classic rock classic!.

Billy continued to perform and record through the 80s, 90s and 2000s until he fell into a coma caused by pericarditis in 2005 and never regained consciousness.

Rita Wright was a singer/songwriter with Motown. While at Motown she met and married Stevie Wonder and co-wrote many of Stevie’s hits. This duet with Billy was just one of many she made with other Motown artists during the 80s. Rita, who renamed herself Syreeta, was Berry Gordy’s choice as the replacement for Diana Ross when she left the Supremes. I can hear the similarities in their voices – but by all means I think Jean Terrell was a better choice.

Syreeta passed away July 6, 2004, after a two year battle with bone cancer.

Listen and enjoy this #5 hit ballad and thanks for reading.


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