Stand By Me
Ben E. King started his singing career as a member of American doo-wap group the Five Crowns which eventually became The Drifters. With King as its lead singer, they had hits with There Goes My Baby, Save the Last Dance for Me, and This Magic Moment.
King went solo and in 1961 he had his first hit with Spanish Harlem. Shortly after, he recorded and released the song that is synonymous with his career, Stand By Me.
Throughout the 60s, King had a string of Top 40 Hits including Amor, Don’t Play That Song, and I (Who Have Nothing). The fact that he wrote or co-wrote many of his songs has often been overlooked in the music history books. He also has been covered by such household names as John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, U2 and even bizarrely Siouxsie and the Banshees.
In 1986, Stand By Me was re-released to support a movie by the same name and almost instantly hit number one. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the strength of his Drifters work but as yet has not been awarded the accolade as a solo artist.
In the 21st century, King is sporadically active in the recording studio and touring circuit as well as his charitable work for the Stand By Me foundation.
For The Record:
Born Benjamin Earl Soloman, September 28, 1938, in Henderson, N.C.
Formed first singing group, the Four B's, while in junior high school; began singing professionally with quintet the Crowns, 1956-59; member of the Drifters, 1959-61; solo performer, 1961—; produced several Top Ten singles, 1960s; collaborated with the Average White Band on Benny and Us, 1977; 1961 hit single "Stand by Me" featured on soundtrack of film Stand by Me, Columbia, 1986.
Addresses: Home—Teaneck, N.J. Record Company—Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.
Spanish Harlem, Atlantic, 1961.
Ben E. King Sings for Soulful Lovers, Atlantic, 1962.
Don't Play That Song, Atlantic, 1962.
Greatest Hits, Atlantic, 1964.
Seven Letters, Atlantic, 1965.
Beginning of It All, Mandala, 1971.
Supernatural Thing, Atlantic, 1975.
Ben E. King Story, Atlantic, 1975.
I Had a Love, Atlantic, 1976.
(With the Average White Band) Benny and Us, Atlantic, 1977.
Let Me Live in Your Life, Atlantic, 1978.
Music Trance, Atlantic, 1980.
Street Tough, Atlantic, 1980.
Rough Edges, Maxwell.
Sources: Juanita Appleby, eNotes.
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