Legendary singer, Ben E. King is dead

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ben-e-king.jpgBen E King, the legendary American R&B and soul singer, best known for the classic song, Stand By Me, has died at the age of 76. The singer died on Thursday, his publicist Phil Brown told BBC News.

King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me. After going solo, he hit the US top five with Stand By Me in 1961. Stand By Me returned to the charts in the 1980s, including a three-week spell at number one in the UK following its use in the film of the same name and a TV advert.

King's other hits included Spanish Harlem, Amor, Don't Play That Song (You Lied) and Supernatural Thing - Part I.

Born Benjamin Earl Nelson, he initially joined a doo-wop group called The Five Crowns, who became The Drifters after that group's manager fired the band's previous members. He co-wrote and sang on the band's single There Goes My Baby, which reached number two in the US in 1959. But the group members were paid just $100 per week by their manager and, after a request for a pay rise was turned down, the singer decided to go solo. In the process, he adopted the surname King.

His first solo hit, in 1961, was Spanish Harlem, which was followed by Stand By Me.He originally intended Stand By Me for The Drifters, but said they turned it down. So he worked on the song when Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun paired him with writers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Ben E King was a frequent visitor to and performer in Jamaica, winning fans over with his classic hits.

 

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