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May 03 2015

In Memoriam: Ben E. King September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015

Rhythm and Blues legend Ben E. King has died at the age of 76. Born Benjamin Earl Nelson on September 28, 1938, in Henderson, North Carolina, and moved to Harlem, New York, in 1947.

Ben E King appeared at a time when pop music was pausing for breath between the wakeup call sounded by the first generation of American rock’n’rollers and the blast of energy provided from across the water by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. His distinctive voice, shaped by the fervour of black church music but capable of a suavely seductive romanticism, was heard on such hits as Spanish Harlem and Stand By Me.

King, who has died aged 76, first made his name as the lead singer of the Drifters, with a handful of hit singles that embodied the best elements of Brill Building pop, in which the sounds of rhythm and blues and gospel music were brought to bear on custom-made songs with simple, catchy and inventive melodies, swathed in imaginative, often sophisticated arrangements.

Stand By Me

Spanish Harlem

Save the Last Dance For Me

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