Songs don’t come much steamier than “With You I’m Born Again” by Billy Preston and Syreeta.
Please note, I said “steamy”, not “sleazy”. There are plenty of songs much sleazier.
“With You I’m Born Again” is a classy, tender, refined song. It’s the first night you spent with the love of your life, not a drunken fumble in the back seat of a stranger’s car.
And the voices! Billy Preston and Syreeta’s voices go together so perfectly. This is one of the finest duets of all-time.
Billy Preston has a more worldly-wise, grounded voice. But a voice that still conveys his relief at finding someone special after a lifetime of hurt.
Syreeta’s voice soars to places you could never imagine a voice could take you. It’s sweet and vulnerable, yet she sounds like she’s singing with the angels. Her voice has a quality mere mortals could only aspire to.
Of the two, Billy Preston is probably better known. Music fans know him as one of the 1960’s most respected session keyboard players, working with Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and The Rolling Stones, amongst many others.
Billy Preston also has possibly the single most significant credit in music history. He’s the only person outside the Fab Four to ever be credited by The Beatles for his work with them.
The label for “Get Back” etches the song into music history as being performed by The Beatles with Billy Preston. As accolades for musicians go, I suspect that’s never going to be beaten.
Syreeta is less well-known, and “With You I’m Born Again” was by far her biggest commercial success. But you’ve heard her voice thousands of times and she had a hand in writing some iconic songs.
She started in the music industry as a secretary at Motown Records, interestingly taking exactly the same job that Martha Reeves had before fame came knocking at her door.
Just as Martha Reeves had done before her, at first she worked as an occasional backing vocalist for groups like The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas while trying to launch her solo career.
Despite her evident talents, and the support of Edward and Brian Holland of the…