Ben E. King is a legend in the R&B genre and a part of a genre that seems to be lost in recent years. His song “Stand By Me” was immensely popular when it was released and continues to be popular to this day.
His hit song became a testament of love and devotion for generations of listeners and it was the type of song that people would sing together in a group and just about everyone knows it. Prior to his solo career that included his big hit, King was a member of two doo-wop groups, The Drifters and the Five Crowns.
He was 76 when he died on Thursday night on New Jersey. He was born in North Carolina with the name Benjamin Earl Nelson before moving to New York as a young boy, which would help launch him to fame.
Ben E. King may not be known for much else, but his hit “Stand By Me” has been an anthem for many people, and sometimes a singer only needs one song to be known. The tune was a top 10 hit in the U.S. in 1961 and has enjoyed great success ever since, receiving several covers and tributes.
The song enjoyed a resurgence of success after its inclusion in Rob Reiner’s 1986 coming-of-age film about four adolescent boys, Stand By Me. Just in time for him to see its inclusion, the Library of Congress inducted King’s original version into the National Recording Registry in March of 2015.
Ben E King was a stylish man who sang the soundtrack for many lovers. Rest in peace sir. Thank you.
— Colin Salmon (@colinsalmon24) May 1, 2015
— Emmett J. Scanlan (@EmmettScanlan) May 1, 2015
He shared songwriting credits on “Stand By Me” with Elmo Glick, a collective pseudonym for the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced the recording session. King earned 12 top 10 hits during his music career between 1959 and 1986, but none came close to the popularity of “Stand By Me” or his other early songs.
Actress and Broadway singer Emmy Rossum even posted a small tribute to her social media pages after she heard the news.
This one's for you Ben E. King. Forever in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/Ka93psDiUB
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) May 1, 2015
Ben E. King will be remembered for his iconic song “Stand By Me” and as one of the pioneers of classic R&B and soul music. His song has been played at a number of weddings and there is no doubt that will receive another boost in popularity with his passing.