RIP: R&B legend Ben E. King, voice of ‘Stand By Me’ and member of the Drifters, dies aged 76

The voice of “Stand By Me” has gone silent.

R&B and soul singer Ben E. King, best known for singing and co-writing the 1962 classic, has died at the age of 76, according to reports. King passed away yesterday, his publicist told BBC News.

He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as a member of the Drifters, and was nominated as a solo artist. In 2012, he was elected to the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame. Here’s more from the BBC, with online tributes starting to pour in…

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. It 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.

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.

Here are some tributes…

With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the…

Posted by Gary U.S. Bonds on Thursday, April 30, 2015