Album: I Wrote a Simple Song (1971)
Charted: 44 2
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  • This instrumental was a track from Billy Preston's sixth album, I Wrote a Simple Song, his first for A&M Records. Preston thought it had the potential to be a hit single, but A&M was less certain and issued it as the B-side of "I Wrote a Simple Song." However, the track took off after a radio DJ flipped the single over and "Outa-Space" went on to sell more than a million copies, topping the R&B chart and reaching #2 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1972. Meanwhile, "I Wrote a Simple Song," staggered to #77 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, proving that Preston had been right all along.
  • The song won the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
  • Preston made "Outa-Space" by using a clavinet, which is a type of electro-mechanical keyboard instrument, and a wah-wah pedal. He then improvised a groove with his backing band before subsequently adding organ and hand claps. The song was called "Outa-Space" because Preston thought it had a spacey sound to it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Guy - New York, NY
  • This was used in several movies, including the 1973 TV movie Go Ask Alice, starring William Shatner, the 1986 teen comedy One Crazy Summer, starring John Cusack, the 1999 comedy Muppets From Space, the 2001 action-comedy Rush Hour 2, starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and the 2013 biopic The Look of Love, starring Steve Coogan as British entrepreneur Paul Raymond.
  • The Beatles thought quite highly of Billy Preston and had him play on some of their tracks, notably "Get Back." After the band split, George Harrison kept working with Preston, using him on his 1970 solo album All Things Must Pass. When Harrison embarked on his only solo tour in 1974, Preston was in his band, but a big enough star in his own right to get some of his own songs in the set, including "Outa-Space."

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 8th 1972, Billy Preston became the first rock performer to headline at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City...
    At the time "Outa-Space" was at #40 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; fifty-five days later on July 2nd, 1972 it would peak at #2 for one week...
    {See below posts}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 16th 1972, "I Wrote a Simple song" b/w "Outa-Space" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position at position #86; it peaked at #77 and spent five weeks on the chart and then fell off...
    It then re-entered the Top 100 on April 16th, 1972 with "Outa-Space" as the A-side...
    {See posts below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 17th 1972, Billy Preston performed "Outa-Space" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Two months earlier on April 16th, 1972 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    (See next post below).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 16th 1972, "Outa-Space" by Billy Preston entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on July 2nd it peaked at #2 (for 1 week) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on June 25th it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    The week it was at #2 on the Top 100 "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers was the #1 record; but Billy did get a measure of revenge when "Outa-Space" knocked "Lean On Me" out of the #1 spot on the R&B chart...
    R.I.P. Mr. Preston (1946 - 2006) and Mr. Withers will celebrate his 76th birthday this coming 4th of July.
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