‘Stand By Me’ singer Ben E King dies, aged 76

Ben E King, singer of such classics as Stand By Me, There Goes My Baby and Spanish Harlem, has died.

King died of natural causes on Thursday at the age of 76, publicist Phil Brown said. He did not have other details immediately.

As a member of the Drifters, King co-wrote and sang lead on There Goes My Baby.

The band had a string of hits featuring King, including Save the Last Dance for Me and This Magic Moment, before he left in a contract dispute.

The 1961 ballad Spanish Harlem gave King his first solo hit. Stand By Me, written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was chosen one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Fellow singer Gary US Bonds paid tribute on Facebook, saying: “With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years — Mr Ben E King."

Born in North Carolina, he moved to New York as a child and got involved in the doo wop scene. His first singles, Spanish Harlem and Stand By Me, were huge hits but Stand By Me only topped the UK charts in 1987 after it featured in a Levis jeans advert .

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