Sunday Morning Playlist: Ben E. King

On Friday, we lost the master bluesman B.B. King. On a Friday two weeks ago, I learned that we’d lost the great R&B singer Ben E. King. Apparently I need to stop reading the news on Fridays.

Ben E. King is best known for recording the sublime “Stand by Me,” which he coauthored with the legendary songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller; it’s one of the greatest ballads of the early rock era, as well as one of my personal all-time favorites. But Ben’s smooth, expressive voice was also the key to a string of other classic hits, both with The Drifters and in a later solo career. I grew up on this stuff, listening to my mom’s scratchy old 45s and, later, to the oldies station that was about the only thing the tired old AM radio in my beloved ’63 Galaxie could actually pick up. Hearing it always makes me feel mellow and happy, so I figure it’s the perfect background music for this crystal-clear Sunday morning following all the rain yesterday. I’m off to pour another cup of joe and fix me some eggs; enjoy!

Bonus: This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Ben E. King and “Stand By Me.” Check out my earlier entry on the subject…