Billy Preston started playing piano at age three. Like his mother, he played behind the Voices of Victory at the Victory Baptist Church in Los Angeles. At age 10, while accompanying a visiting Mahalia Jackson, a movie producer spotted Preston and cast him as a young W.C. Handy in the film St. Louis Blues. At 15, he was signed to Sam Cooke's SAR label and toured England with Cooke and Little Richard in 1962. While in the U.K., he met the Beatles who invited him to play on their single "Get Back." In 1969, he signed with the group's Apple label, recording two albums. When Apple folded, Preston signed with A&M Records. During the recording of his label debut, I Wrote a Simple Song, he rented a clavinet. It was his first experience with the keyboard instrument. He ran the clavinet's sound through a wah-wah pedal and began to improvise a groove while calling out chord changes to the band. Preston later added organ and handclaps to the track. Because of its spacy sound, he called the instrumental "Outa Space." Preston felt it was a hit, but A&M was leery and issued it as the B-side of "I Wrote a Simple Song." A radio DJ flipped the single over and began playing "Outa Space" and the track took off, selling more than a million copies and going to number one R&B and number two pop in the summer of 1972.