Tribute and Variety
Shows are super successful. The buyer gets more bang for the buck, spending the same amount on
4 to 6 names.
The audience gets to hear a variety of artists. Win Win!
BEN E. KING
More than 30 years after making his first musical
mark with The Drifters, Ben E. King’s voice remains one of the most
expressive instruments in musical history. Time and experience has
brought added nuances and shading to his gift and when he sings,
there’s nothing like it in the world.
Born in Henderson, North Carolina, this artist had his first formal
experience in hometown church choirs. Later, his family moved to New
York City’s Harlem and Ben E. founded his first group while attending
James Fenimore Junior High. The group was called The Four B’s (for Ben
E., Billy, Billy & Bobby). They were neighborhood buddies and this
marked Ben E.’s first singing experience outside of gospel music.
"The best that I could get out of that group, though," Ben E.
recalls, "was marrying Betty, the sister of brothers Billy and
That area of the city, from 110th to 125th Streets, was a hotbed of
street music. "I even had a chance to be one of The Moonglows,"
he notes, "very few people know about that. I fit in, but I just
wasn’t experienced enough to go through with it". Then, one day
in 1959, Ben E. was singing in his father’s restaurant and the manager
of a group called The Five Crowns stopped in. That was really when it
all began to happen for Ben E. King.
In 1959, the original Drifters had disbanded, leaving their manager with
a recording contract to fulfill, as well as long term performance
contract for annual appearances at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. A
promising young group known as The Five Crowns, with the new addition of
Ben E. King (not yet 21) was chosen to take The Drifters name and step
into their shoes.
"There Goes My Baby", the first
single record by The "new" Drifters, became the first record
by the group to reach the Top 5 on both the R&B and Pop charts. In
addition to singing lead, Ben E. co-wrote the tune.
Many critics and music observers insist that it was Ben E.’s gospel
rooted, high pitched vocal delivery both with The Drifters and then on
his own, that has influenced every high tenor R&B vocalist to come
After a slew of hits with The Drifters including, "Dance
With Me", "This Magic Moment" and "Save
The Last Dance For Me", fate intervened with a mid-winter
snowstorm that would change Ben E.’s career forever. The weather
prevented the other three Drifters from attending a session. The
musicians, engineers and recording personnel decided not to waste the
time and allowed Ben E. to record two songs.
The first single was "Spanish Harlem",
which became one of the biggest hits of 1961. Ben E. was honored as the
outstanding vocalist of the year for this single and "Stand
By Me", which was his next hit, went straight to Number 1 on
the charts. Re-released in 1986, when the movie of the same name
was in theaters, an entire new generation of fans were captivated by the
voice responsible for such classics as, "Don’t
Play That Song", "Supernatural Thing" and "Do
It In The Name Of Love", just to mention a few.
Although Ben E. has spent mostly all of his time over the last few years
touring and writing, he still has found the time for other industry
related projects. Recent appearances on ‘Good Morning America’,
‘Late Night with David Letterman’ and re-recording of songs used in
television commercials such as "Stand By
Me" and "This Magic Moment"
have occupied much of Ben E’s time. Many of his activities have taken
him overseas, one of which is a recording project in Japan, as well as
numerous Asian and European tours.
Ben E.’s last album, "What’s Important To Me" is an album
of perfectly crafted songs and must be added to the list of Ben E’s
recording successes. The first single released from that album entitled,
"You’ve Got All Of Me",
showcased his incredible song writing talent and that unmistakable
voice. In addition to the outstanding tracks, "So
Important" and "You Still Love
Me", Ben E. pays tribute to another music legend, Curtis
Mayfield, with his rendition of Curtis’ "It’s
On tour much of the year, Ben E. King is an Artist’s Artist and
audiences around the world love him.