< Unsourced image removed: right --> Ben E. King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson in September 28, 1938 in Henderson, North Carolina) is an American soul and pop singer. He is best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me", a top ten hit in both 1961 and 1986.
In 1958, Ben Nelson joined a doo wop group, The Five Crowns. Later that same year, The Drifters' manager fired the members of the group and replaced them with the Five Crowns, who had performed several engagements with the Drifters. He co-wrote the first hit by the new version of the Drifters, "There Goes My Baby" (1959). He also sang lead, using his birth name, on "Save the Last Dance for Me," a song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, "Dance With Me," "This Magic Moment," "I Count the Tears," and other Drifters hits.
In 1960 he left the group after failing to gain a salary increase and a fairer share of the group's royalties. At this point he assumed the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a solo career. Remaining on Atlantic, King scored his first solo hit with the stylish, Latin-tinged ballad "Spa...