Benjamin Earl Nelson

Ben E. King

Early Life

  • Born September 28, 1938, in Henderson, North Carolina.
  • Moved to Harlem, New York, at the age of nine in 1947.
  • King began singing in church choirs, and in high school formed the Four B’s.

The Drifters and Solo Career

  • King was originally in a group called the Five Crowns, but the manager of The Drifters replaced the members with those of Five Crowns.
  • King only recorded thirteen songs with the Drifters.
  • In May, 1960, King left The Drifters and assumed the name Ben E. King
  • His first hit, 1961, was the ballad "Spanish Harlem," and second with "Stand By Me."
  • He achieved five number one hits(solo), and was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a Drifter.)

Later Life and Legacy

  • King was active in a charitable foundation that provided education to deserving youths in Teaneck, New Jersey.
  • On April 30, 2015, King died from coronary issues.
  • King's songs have been covered by many famous voices such as Ray Charles, John Lennon, and Aretha Franklin.
  • King also inspired several rock bands, one being Led Zeppelin, who covered "Groovin."