Top 20 Fascinating Facts About Ben E. King

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The singer and co-composer of “Stand by Me”, Ben E. King is one of the most reputed musical figures in history. His birth name was Benjamin Earl King, and he was born on September 28, 1938, in Henderson, North Carolina, United States. He moved to Harlem, New York in the year 1947 at the age of nine and began his journey as a singer by singing in church choirs. Today, he is known for the great transformation he brought in revolutionizing R&B to soul music.

Interestingly, he was more famous by his stage name “King” which he took in honor of his uncle. Listed below are top 20 such fascinating facts about him:

1. His 1961 single “Stand By Me” has set records for being the most covered songs in history.

2. He sang both the versions of the song, first in 1961 and later in 1986, when it was used as a theme for the film produced by the same name.

3. “Stand by Me” is a record number: a US Top 10 hit, a no. one hit in the UK in 1987 and a no. 25 on the RIAA’s list of Songs of the Century.

4. The original version is now also inducted into the National Recording Registry. This step was initiated by the Library of Congress for the song being: “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

5.It’s been said that King had no intention to record this song when he wrote it for “The Drifters”, the R&B vocal group, who also didn’t record it then. Now, the song features over 400 recorded versions.

6.King was also one of the principal lead singers of “The Drifters”.

7. King’s other best recorded songs are Spanish Harlem, There Goes My Baby, Save The Last Dance For Me, I Count the Tears, That’s When it Hurts, Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) and many more.

8. As a school kid, he also worked for his father’s restaurant as a singing waiter.

9. He also got his first golden offer here when Lover Patterson visited the restaurant, and heard him sing. He then invited King to join “Five Crowns” as a new baritone.

10. In 1958, “The Drifters” manager George Treadwell fired the original band and replaced them with the members of the “Five Crowns”.

11. Besides being a singer, he was also a songwriter and a record producer. He use to play instruments like guitar, piano and keyboards.

12. He covered genres like Soul, R&B, pop and doo-wop. In high school, King formed the Four B’s, a doo-wop group that occasionally performed at the Apollo.

13. He was awarded with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 with the Drifters; GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 1998, 2002 and Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award in 1994.

14. His track, “I Who Have Nothing” was selected for the Sopranos Peppers and Eggs Soundtrack CD in the year 2001.

15. In the year 2009, he was also inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

16. In the year 2012, the Songwriters Hall of Fame declared that “Stand By Me” would receive the 2012 Towering Song Award.

17. King was also the founder of the “Stand By Me Foundation”, a charitable foundation which provides education to deserving youths.

18. The Moonglows, an American vocal group, invited King to join the group while he was still in high school.

19. Because of his legal strife with Treadwell, King rarely appeared in public/TV with the group.

20. His first solo hit was “Spanish Harlem” in the year 1961, followed by “Stand By Me”. He continued to perform and record almost until his death in 2015.

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