Ben E King Biography
Benjamin Earl King, known as Ben E. King, was an American vocalist and record producer who specialized in soul and R&B music. He is best known as the singer and co-composer of “Stand by Me,” which was a Top 10 hit in the United States in 1961 and 1986 (when it was used as the theme for the film of the same name), a number one hit in the United Kingdom in 1987, and number 25 on the RIAA’s list of Songs of the Century—and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters, notably singing the lead vocals of one of their top hits and US No. 1 hit on the chart, “Save the Last Dance for Me.” Besides “Stand By Me”, his songs “There Goes My Baby” and “Spanish Harlem” also appeared on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
He was born on September 28, 1938, in Henderson, North Carolina, and moved to Harlem, New York, at the age of nine in 1947. Ben began singing in church choirs and established the Four B’s, a doo-wop group that performed at the Apollo on occasion, when he was in high school. Ben joined the Five Crowns, a doo-wop group. Later that year, George Treadwell, the Drifters’ manager, fired the original Drifters’ members and replaced them with members of the Five Crowns.
With the trio on Atlantic Records, King scored a streak of R&B singles. He co-wrote and sung lead on the revised version of the Drifters’ first Atlantic hit, “There Goes My Baby” (1959). “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” and “I Count the Tears” were among the tunes he sang lead on with Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. With the Drifters, Ben recorded only thirteen songs—two backup vocal performances and eleven solo vocal performances—including an unreleased tune called “Temptation” (later redone by Drifters vocalist Johnny Moore). “Sometimes I Wonder,” recorded on May 19, 1960, but not released until June 1962, was the last single released by Ben with the Drifters. Charlie Thomas, a fellow Drifters member, frequently lip-synched the songs that Ben had recorded with the Drifters on television.
Ben quit the Drifters in May 1960 and began his solo career. Ben’s first solo hit was the ballad “Spanish Harlem,” which he recorded for Atlantic Records’ Atco division (1961). His following hit, “Stand by Me,” co-written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was eventually named one of the Recording Industry Association of America’s Songs of the Century. For his voice on the song, Ben mentioned Brook Benton, Roy Hamilton, and Sam Cooke as influences.
“Stand by Me,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Spanish Harlem,” and “Save the Last Dance for Me” were all included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll; and each of these albums has been honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. He scored a Top 30 success with “I (Who Have Nothing)” in the summer of 1963, which reached the Top 10 on New York radio station WMCA.
Ben has five number one songs as a Drifter and as a solo artist: “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Stand By Me,” “Supernatural Thing,” and the 1986 re-issue of “Stand By Me.” From 1959 until 1986, he had 12 Top 10 hits and 26 Top 40 hits. As a Drifter, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and as a solo artist, he was nominated too.
Ben died on April 30, 2015 at the age of 76.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Albums Of The Ben E King?
There are several Ben E. King albums available, including Stand by Me: The Best of Ben E. King, Don’t Play That Song!: The Atlantic Recordings (1961-1965), and Seven Letters: The Scepter Records Story, 1961-1964. King also recorded a live album in 1987 entitled Live at the Apollo.
What Elements Of Poetry Are In Stand By Me By Ben E King?
The elements of poetry present in the song “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King include rhyme, meter, and similes. The lyrics make use of simple, everyday language to convey a powerful message about the strength of friendship and love. The rhyming scheme of the song is AABB, and it has a moderate tempo and a 4/4 time signature. Additionally, the lyrics make use of several similes to compare the speaker’s love for his friends to various objects and concepts, such as mountains, rivers, and stars.
What Is The Best Song Ben E King ?
The best song by Ben E. King is undoubtedly “Stand by Me.” The track was released in 1961 and has since become an American classic, being covered by numerous artists over the years. “Stand by Me” is a beautiful ballad with simple, yet profound lyrics that resonate with people of all ages. The song is about friendship and standing together in tough times, themes that are still relevant today. Ben E. King’s soulful vocals convey the emotion of the song perfectly, making it one of the greatest tracks of all time.
When Was Stand By Me Released Ben E King?
The movie Stand by Me was released in 1986. Ben E. King’s song “Stand by Me” was released in 1961.
When Did Ben E King Record Stand By Me?
Ben E. King recorded “Stand by Me” in the summer of 1961. The song was released as a single in September of that year, and it quickly became a hit, reaching number one on the R&B charts and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. “Stand by Me” has since been covered by many artists and has become a classic.