Original member of the Drifters who also recorded “Spanish Harlem” and “Save the Last Dance for Me” died in New Jersey
Ben E. King, the legendary R&B singer known best for the song “Stand By Me,” died Thursday in New Jersey. He was 76.
According to King’s booking agent, the singer had suffered from “coronary problems.”
King, born Benjamin Earl Nelson on Sept. 28, 1938 in Henderson, North Carolina, began his career in earnest with The Drifters, who were comprised of the members of King’s doo wop group The Five Crowns after manager George Treadwell fired the original lineup. With King the group recorded hit songs “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment.”
But it was the song “Stand By Me” that solidified Ben E. King’s place in music immortality. The tune, which served as the theme to, and inspiration for the title of, the coming-of-age movie by the same name, reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped Billboard’s R&B chart during its initial release. It resurfaced to reach No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1986, the year of the movie’s release.
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