Born in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1938, Benjamin Earl Nelson started his career in the late 1950s with the Drifters before going solo in 1960.
With the Drifters and as a solo artist, King achieved five number one hits including There Goes My Baby, Save The Last Dance For Me, Stand By Me, Supernatural Thing, and the 1986 reissue of Stand By Me.
King’s other hits included Spanish Harlem, Amor and Don’t Play That Song (You Lied).
In 1990, King and Bo Diddley, along with Doug Lazy, recorded a revamped hip hop version of the Monotones’ 1958 hit song Book of Love. He also recorded a children’s album, I Have Songs In My Pocket.
In 2012, the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that Stand By Me would receive its 2012 Towering Song Award.
The song has charted nine times on the US Billboard 100 over the years – King’s version twice and seven times with covers by artists including John Lennon and Spyder Turner.