e king

Ben E. King

Ben E. King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson, September 28 1938) is an American soul singer. He is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me," a U.S. top 10 hit in both 1961 and 1987 and a #1 hit in the UK in 1987, and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group, The Drifters.

Early life and career

Ben Nelson was born in Henderson, North Carolina and moved to Harlem, New York City, New York, at the age of nine.

In 1958, he joined a doo wop group called The Five Crowns. Later that year, The Drifters' manager fired the members of the group and replaced them with The Five Crowns, who had performed several engagements with the Drifters. Nelson co-wrote the first hit by the new version of the Drifters, "There Goes My Baby" (1959). He also sang lead, using his birth name, on "Save the Last Dance for Me", a song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, "Dance With Me", "This Magic Moment", "I Count the Tears" and "Lonely Winds". King only recorded ten songs with The Drifters, including a non-single called "Temptation".

In 1960, he left the Drifters after failing to gain a salary increase and what he felt to be a fairer share of the group's royalties. At this point he assumed the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a solo career. Remaining on Atlantic Records, King scored his first solo hit with the ballad "Spanish Harlem" (1961). "Stand by Me" was his next recording. Written by King along with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Stand by Me" was voted one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. "Stand by Me", "There Goes My Baby" and "Spanish Harlem" were named as three of 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, as well as "Save The Last Dance For Me". Other songs were "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" (which was covered by Aretha Franklin in the 1970s), "Amor", "Seven Letters", "How Can I Forget", "On the Horizon", "Young Boy Blues", "I (Who Have Nothing)", and many more.

King's records continued to place well on the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 1964. British pop bands began to dominate the pop music scene, but King still continued to make R&B hits. In the summer of 1963, King had a top 30 national hit with "I (Who Have Nothing)", a song that reached the Top 10 on New York's radio station, WMCA. The song has been covered many times, notably by John Lennon, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Sylvester James, U2, Bruce Springsteen, and most recently by American Idol contestant Jordin Sparks, during the March 20, 2007 and May 15, 2007 telecasts. King's other hits were "What is Soul?" (1967), "Supernatural Thing, Part 1" (1975), and the re-issue in 1986 of "Stand by Me", following the song's use as the theme music to Stand By Me movie.

In 1990, King and Bo Diddley featuring Doug Lazy recorded a revamped rap version of The Monotones' 1958 hit song "Book of Love" for the soundtrack of the movie Book of Love. He also recorded a young children's album titled, I Have Songs In My Pocket, written and produced by Bobby Susser in 1998, which won a "Best Vacation Products Award For Children." King performed "Stand by Me" on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2007. Ahmet Ertegun once stated that King had one of the greatest voices in soul history. Throughout King's career he earned five number one hits, which were "There Goes My Baby", "Save The Last Dance For Me", "Stand By Me", "Supernatural Thing", and the 1986 re-issue of "Stand By Me". He also earned twelve Top 10 hits from 1959 to 1986.

Currently, King is active in his charitable foundation, the Stand By Me Foundation.



This section is nearly completed and will be reviewed thoroughly in the extreme future.

Other albums


  • "There Goes My Baby" (1959) R&B: #1 US: #2 with The Drifters
  • "Oh my Love (1959) with The Drifters
  • "Dance With Me" (1959) R&B: #2 US: #15 UK: #17 with The Drifters
  • "This Magic Moment" (1960) R&B: #4 US: #16 with The Drifters
  • "Lonely Winds" (1960) R&B: #9 US: #54 with The Drifters
  • "Save The Last Dance For Me" (1960) R&B: #1 US: #1 UK: #2 with The Drifters
  • "Nobody but me (1960) with The Drifters
  • "I Count the Tears" (1960) US: #17 UK: #28 with[The Drifters
  • "Brace Yourself (1960, Atco)
  • "Show Me the Way" (1960, Atco)
  • " A Help Each Other (1960, Atlantic) with Lavern Baker
  • "How Often" (1960, Atlantic) with Lavern Baker
  • "Spanish Harlem" (1961, Atco) R&B: #15 US: #10
  • "First Taste of Love" (1961) US: #53 UK: #27 (b-side of "Spanish Harlem")
  • "Stand by Me" (1961) R&B: #1 US: #4 UK: #27
  • "Amor" (1961) R&B: #10 US: #18 UK: #38
  • "Young Boy Blues" (1961) US: #66
  • "Here Comes the Night" (1961) US: #81 (b-side of "Young Boy Blues")
  • "Ecstasy" (1962) US: #56
  • "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" (1962) R&B: #2 US: #11
  • "Too Bad" (1962) US: #88
  • "I'm Standing By" (1962) US:#111
  • "Tell Daddy" (1962) US:#122 R&B: #29
  • "Sometimes I Wonder" (1962) with The Drifters
  • "How Can I Forget" (1963) R&B: #23 US: #85
  • "I (Who Have Nothing)" (1963) R&B: #16 US: #29
  • "I Could Have Danced All Night" (1963) US: #72
  • "What Now My Love" US:#102(1964)
  • "That's When It Hurts" (1964)
  • "What Can A Man Do" (1964) US:#113
  • "It's All Over" (1964) US: #72
  • "Around The Corner" (1964) US:#125
  • "Seven Letters" (1965) R&B: #11 US: #45
  • "The Record (Baby I Love You)" (1965) Pop: #84
  • "She's Gone Again" (1965) US:#128
  • "Cry No More" (1965)
  • "Goodnight My Love" (1965) US: #91
  • "So Much Love" (1966) US: #96
  • "Get In a Hurry" (1966)
  • "I Swear By Stars Above" (1966) R&B: #35 (b-side of "Get in a Hurry")
  • "They Don't Give Medals to Yesterday's Heroes" (1966)
  • "What Is Soul?" (1966) R&B: #38 (b-side of "They Don't Give...")
  • "A Man Without a Dream (1967)
  • "Tears, Tears, Tears" (1967) R&B: #34 US: #93 (b-side of "A Man Without...")
  • "Katherine" (1967)
  • "Don't Take Your Sweet Love Away" (1967) R&B: #44
  • "We Got a Thing Goin' On" (1968) with Dee Dee Sharp US:#127
  • "Don't Take Your Love from Me" (1968) US:#117
  • "Where's the Girl" (1968)
  • "It Ain't Fair" (1968)
  • "Til' I Can't Take It Anymore" US:#134
  • "Hey Little One" (1969)
  • "I Can't Take It Like a Man" (1970, Maxwell)
  • "Take Me to the Pilot" (1972, Mandala)
  • "Into the Mystic" (1972)
  • "Spread Myself Around" (1973)
  • "Supernatural Thing Pt. 1" (1975, Atlantic) R&B: #1 US: #5
  • "Do It in the Name of Love" (1975) R&B: #4 US: #60
  • "We Got Love" (1975)
  • "I Had a Love" (1975) R&B: #23 (b-side of "We Got Love")
  • "I Betcha you Didn't Know" (1976)
  • "Get It Up" (1977) with Average White Band
  • "A Star in the Ghetto" (1977) R&B: #25 with Average White Band
  • "Fool for You Anyway" (1977) with Average White Band
  • "I See the Light" (1978)
  • "Fly Away to My Wonderland" (1978)
  • "Music Trance" (1979) R&B: #29
  • "Street Tough" (1981)
  • "You Made the Difference in My Life" (1981)
  • "Stand By Me [re-issue]" (1986) US: #9 UK: #1
  • "Spanish Harlem [re-issue]" (1987)
  • "Save the Last Dance for Me [re-recorded]" (1987, EMI-Manhattan)
  • "What's Important to Me" (1991, Ichiban)
  • "You've Got All of Me" (1992)
  • "You Still Move Me" (1992)
  • "4th of July" (1997, Right Stuff)


External links

  • VH1 profile

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