Sunday, 12 April 2015
K is for King
Born Benjamin Earl Nelson in 1938 in North Carolina, he moved to New York with his family at age 9 where he became exposed to the city's thriving music industry. As a young adult he joined up with a doo-wop group called the Five Crowns and began recording songs with them.
However after a few years he left the group, now called the Drifters, due to a contract dispute over salary. In 1960 he changed his name to Ben E. King and began to build a career as a solo artist. During this time several of his songs were named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll" as well as earning a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
In the mid-1960s the music scene became dominated by British pop bands, but King still was able to create enough R&B hits to cement his position as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. His popularity was rejuvenated with the release of the movie "Stand By Me" and to this day he continues to perform and tour.
King has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, and is active in his Stand By Me charitable foundation for children.
Here's a recording of his first solo hit.