R&B legend Ben E King dies

R&B and Soul singer Ben E King dies aged 76. The 'Stand By Me' singer passed away on Thursday in New Jersey.

R&B and Soul legend Ben E King has died in New Jersey aged 76.

Born in Carolina, King found success as an original member with The Drifters, famous for hits 'There Goes My Baby' and 'Save The Last Dance For Me'. After going solo, King hit the US top 5 in 1961 with the classic 'Stand By Me'. The song returned to the charts 25 years later when it was the theme song for Rob Reiner's film about boyhood friendship. 'Stand By Me' has been covered hundreds of times, most notably by John Lennon in 1975 and Maurice White in 1985. 

More recently, King was inducted to the North Carolina Hall of Fame in 2009, and in 2012 The Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that King would be honoured with the Towering Performance Award for his recording of 'Stand By Me'. 

Jazz FM's Peter Young pays tribute to Ben E King:

"Ben E. King was the very first artist to make any impact in the UK with what became known as soul music. A term not widely in use in the late 50s and early 60s. His most famous song 'Stand By Me' was only a modest success in Britain when first released in 1961. In spite of that, the UK audience took Benny very much to their hearts and rewarded him with a number 1 hit with the same song 26 years later in 1987. Such a shame to have lost this early soul pioneer so soon after Percy Sledge." 

 

There will be a full tribute on the Soul Cellar on Saturday May 9th.

 

 

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