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Ben E. King Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (4)

Born in Henderson, North Carolina, USA
Died in Hackensack, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameBenjamin Earl Nelson
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ben E. King was born on September 28, 1938 in Henderson, North Carolina, USA as Benjamin Earl Nelson. He was married to Betty Nelson. He died on April 30, 2015 in Hackensack, New Jersey, USA.

Spouse (1)

Betty Nelson (1964 - 30 April 2015) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (5)

Singer, best known for his hit song "Stand By Me".
Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of The Drifters) in 1988.
He left The Drifters in 1960 and embarked on a successful solo career. "Spanish Harlem" reached the Top 10 that year. "Stand by Me", which he co-wrote, reached the Top 10 in 1961 (and again in 1986, when it was used in the soundtrack of the Rob Reiner film of the same name, Stand by Me (1986)).
He changed his surname to King, which belonged to a favorite uncle, soon after joining The Drifters.
He grew up in Harlem, where his father had moved the family when he was a child. He began singing in church choirs. In high school, he formed a doo-wop group, the Four B's, that occasionally performed at the Apollo Theater.

Personal Quotes (25)

Those things don't happen today. I feel sorry for the kids in the industry today. They have on sunglasses, eat caviar in jet planes, but they'll never know the true feeling that we did.
You were able to sing something they related to instantly, because it was part of what you felt. It was part of what you had already traveled through. It's part of the people you were associating with daily. It was all of that.
And, because there was an honesty about all that was going on. It connected with the people in the street.
I still think my whole career was accidental. I didn't pursue it. I feel like I'm cheating sometimes.
I do like what Alicia Keys and John Legend are doing. With their music, you keep your clothes on.
Yeah. I've been pretty fortunate to travel I guess, all around the place.
It would probably take me an hour to two to write it down, get the feel of it, and that's with quite a few changes. It's not really a hard thing for me to do.
Many times, I've gone on tours with Paul Anka. He would have someone sitting behind him to keep people from even talking to him. You were almost in a little restricted area there.
He was a manager, one of the singers, I guess talent coordinator for the local talent in Harlem. His name was Lover Patterson. He was living right across the street from where my dad had his restaurant. I guess he saw a lot of kids come in, a lot of my buddies.
One of the members of the group, I can't remember which one, found out we were making $3 - $5,000 a night. We were getting a hundred dollars a week a piece. Everybody got upset about it.
We were doing things with a hundred per cent feeling. It wasn't programmed. It wasn't asked for. It wasn't structured. It was just there. It was very raw. I don't think the industry would allow that to happen again.
I never even visualized for a second doing what I'm doing.
Of course, the kids who had never heard of a person called Ben E. King were then aware of the name associated with the song. That gave a tremendous lift to me as an artist.
If there's anything about the business that I love and that I'm extremely happy about, is that my career started at that time and that I met some of the greatest entertainers at that time and some are still here.
One minute we can be in a small club, the next minute we can be in a coliseum, and the next minute we can be in a small auditorium. It varies, depending on the promoter, the budget, and the travelling distance.
The Phil Spector that I would meet has always been a nice, quiet, little guy who's very serious about his work; obviously, you can tell that because each and everything he's ever done has always been charted.
Yeah. I'm amateurish. I can play enough to write a song, or strum on a little guitar to write out a song. But, I don't play well at all. I wouldn't even attempt for a second to play in public.
When I got involved with The Five Crowns who later became The Drifters, and we got this hit record, I still was looking at this as kind of a fun thing.
When we took on the name The Drifters, we became the new Drifters, and signed a contract to be put on salary, which I think was like a hundred dollars a week, apiece, five hundred dollars for all five of us.
The movie [Stand by Me (1986)] is actually from a book, by Stephen King, called "The Body". When they were gonna make it into a motion picture, they found the story was a bit too strong for the title, "The Body", based on a young kid's movie. It would be too heavy.
It doesn't take me long to write songs.
At that time, we were in charge. We didn't ask. We just did. We just did what was in our heart.
I do a lot of Vegas work and work with the comedians.
It never dawned on me at any particular time of my life that people are paid tremendous money to sing.
The industry now wants to be in charge of everything.

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