Ben E King, famous R&B and soul singer, who became best known for the classic song ‘Stand By Me’, has passed away at the age of 76.
Ben E King, famous R&B and soul singer, who became best known for the classic song Stand By Me, has passed away at the age of 76.
Before hitting the US top five with ‘Stand By Me’ in 1961, he had taken part in The Drifters and started with them his career in the late 1950s, singing on such hits as ‘There Goes My Baby’ and ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’.
In the 1980s, when his song ‘Stand By Me’ was used in a film with the same name, it returned to the top charts and even had been taken the first place in UK for a three weeks.
Over the years ‘Stand By Me’ has charted nine times on the US Billboard 100. Twice it was the King’s version and the last seven times these were covers by such performers as John Lennon and Spyder Turner.
Also, the song, written by King with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was announced in 1999 by the BMI to be the fourth most-played track of the 20th Century on US radio and TV. Another most widely-known King’s songs are ‘Spanish Harlem’, ‘Amor’, ‘Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)’ and ‘Supernatural Thing – Part I’.
After King’s death on Tuesday his friend and musician Gary US Bonds said that their friendship had lasted for more than 50 years and that after such a long time he could assure King was the sweetest, gentlest and one of the most gifted souls that he had the privilege to meet.
Born Benjamin Earl Nelson, he firstly joined the group called The Five Crowns, which was later renamed to The Drifters after manager fired the previous members, and their single ‘There Goes My Baby’, co-written and performed by King, reached number two in the US in 1959.
But manager paid the group members only $100 per week, soafter a refusal to increase the salary, the singer decided to start solo-career and adopted the surname King.
‘Stand By Me’, ‘Spanish Harlem’ and ‘There Goes My Baby’ were all named in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and were all given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.