‘Stand By Me’ Singer Ben E. King Dies at Age 76
Soul singer Ben E. King has died at age 76. The Telegraph reports that the “Stand By Me” artist passed of natural causes on Thursday, April 30.
Born Benjamin Earl Nelson in 1938, the singer began his career when he joined the doo-wop group, the Five Crowns, in the late ‘50s. The outfit eventually adopted the moniker the Drifters, releasing the King-led “There Goes My Baby” in 1959, which the singer also co-wrote. The song reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and No. 1 on its R&B chart.
King parted ways with the Drifters in 1960 at which time he adopted the stage name Ben E. King as a solo artist. The singer released his first single, “Spanish Harlem,” in 1961, which was followed by his breakthrough hit, “Stand By Me,” later that year. The iconic song -- which King co-wrote -- charted both at the time of its release and then again in the ‘80s.
Back in March, the Library of Congress included “Stand By Me” in its 2015 National Recording Registry. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
King -- who was born in North Carolina before moving to Harlem as a child -- was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009. The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave King the Towering Performance Award for “Stand By Me” in 2012.