Tag: Ben E. King

R.I.P. Singer/Songwriter and R&B Legend Ben E. King

Ben E King
Ben E King received an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012 (Photo via bbc.com)

R&B and soul singer Ben E. King, best known for the classic song “Stand By Me,” has died at the age of 76.  The singer died on Thursday, his publicist Phil Brown told BBC News.

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 U.S. 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 U.K. following its use in the film of the same name directed by Rob Reiner.

King’s other hits included “Spanish Harlem,” “Amor,” “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” and “Supernatural Thing – Part I.”

Fellow musician Gary U.S. Bonds wrote on Facebook that King was “one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years”.

He wrote: “I can tell you that Ben E. will be missed more than words can say. Our sincere condolences go out to Betty and the entire family.

“Thank you Ben E. for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind.”

Actor Jerry O’Connell, who played Vern in the film “Stand By Me” alongside River Phoenix and Corey Feldmantweeted: “You know you are good when John Lennon covers your song. Ben E. King was a wonderful and immensely talented man.”

Born Benjamin Earl Nelson, he initially joined a doo-wop group called The Five Crowns, who became The Drifters after that group’s manager fired the band’s previous members.  He co-wrote and sang on the band’s single “There Goes My Baby,” which reached number two in the U.S. in 1959.

But the group members were paid just $100 per week by their manager and, after a request for a pay rise was turned down, the singer decided to go it alone. In the process, he adopted the surname King.

His first solo hit was “Spanish Harlem” in 1961, which was followed by “Stand By Me.”

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Lauryn Hill’s Grammy-Winning Album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” to Be Entered Into the Library of Congress

Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill poses with the five Grammy Awards she won for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the 41st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 24, 1999. (VINCE BUCCI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Each year, the Library of Congress selects 25 recordings to add to its archive. This year, Lauryn Hill’s record-breaking album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, will be included in the 25.

According to the Library of Congress press release, among requirements for inclusion in the archive are that the recordings be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and be at least 10 years old. The Library of Congress gave a lengthy explanation as to why it chose Hill’s debut album:

“Lauryn Hill’s debut solo record, following the breakup of the Fugees, is a work of honesty in which Hill explores her feelings on topics that included the deep wonder of pregnancy, the pitfalls of modern relationships and the experience of the sacred. The album effortlessly fuses soul, rhythm and blues, rap and reggae. Hill’s vocal range, smooth clear highs and vibrato are stunning. The rapping is rhythmically compelling while always retaining, and frequently exploiting, the natural cadences of conversational speech. Standout guest performances include Carlos Santana’s soulful acoustic guitar solo on ‘Zion,’ and duets with Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo on ‘I Used to Love Him’ and ‘Nothing Even Matters,’ respectively.”

Hill’s album joins an eclectic list, which includes Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” Sly and the Family Stone’s Stand album, and even a Sesame Street platinum-hits album.

Check out the full list of inductees below:

1. Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at University of California, Santa Barbara Library (c.1890-1910)

2. The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection, recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago (1893)

3. “The Boys of the Lough”/ “The Humours of Ennistymon” (single)—Michael Coleman (1922)
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