Ben E. King (137066)
Credit: Contributed

Best known for the 1961 his song “Stand By Me, soul and R&B singer-songwriter Ben E. King has died. He was 76.

Reports indicate King died Thursday in New Jersey from coronary problems.

Born Benjamin Earl Nelson in 1938 in Henderson, N.C., he moved to Harlem at the age of 9. King started singing with his first doo wop group the Five Crowns in 1958 which later became the Drifters. The group had several hit songs with Atlantic Records with King as lead singer.

“There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” and “I Count the Tears” were among the many songs King was known for.

He left the Drifters in 1960 becoming a solo act. His 1961 song “Stand by Me” made No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and No. 4 on the Billboard Top 100. It was also No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart.

“Stand By Me” was re-released in 1986 coinciding with its use as the theme song for the movie of the same name following its appearance in the film and reached No. 9 on the Billboard Top 100. It reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1987.

King was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

He was a resident of Teaneck, N.J. at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife Betty.