This funky soul number was Billy Preston's first #1 solo single. The virtuoso keyboardist, who was credited on the Beatles' "Get Back" and joined them for their iconic 1969 rooftop concert, was briefly signed to the Fab Four's Apple Records but found success with a switch to A&M Records. Music Is My Life was Preston's second album on the LA-based label; his first, I Wrote A Simple Song, yielded the Grammy Award-winning instrumental "Outa-Space," which narrowly missed the #1 slot.
This was borne out of a joke Preston made to his songwriting partner, Bruce Fisher, about having a song but no melody. The comment inspired the opening refrain, "I got a song that ain't got no melody, I'm gonna sing it to my friends," and set up similar proclamations, such as having a story with no moral and having a dance with no steps.
The song's success allowed Fisher to finally quit his job in the mailroom at NBC in Burbank, California. He went on to collaborate with Preston on his next #1, "Nothing From Nothing," and the Joe Cocker hit "You Are So Beautiful."
This was used in the pilot episode of the Netflix drama House of Cards in 2013. It was also used in the '70s-themed series Vinyl in the 2016 episode "He In Racist Fire" and in the 2017 Hugh Hefner documentary American Playboy in the segment "Below the Belt: Playboy and the Public Wars."
This was featured in the 1996 movie Beautiful Girls, starring Matt Dillon.
Phish played this at two of their concerts in 1999. It was also covered by That's So Raven star Orlando Brown for the 2006 soundtrack album That's So Raven Too! and by Donny Osmond for his 2007 album, Love Songs Of The '70s.