Ben E King Solo Career … Thanks George

As many know, in 1958, Ben E. King was a member of the Five Crowns. George Treadwell, who was the manager of the Drifters, fired the members of the Original Drifters and hired the Five Crowns as the New Drifters … known as the Ben E. King Era of the Drifters. Ben was the new voice of the Drifters in 1959. He sang lead on so many of the Drifters classics that year like; “There Goes My Baby”, “Save the Last Dance For Me”, “This Magic Moment” and “I Count the Tears”. After touring with the Drifters for a year, Treadwell fired Ben E. King over contract disagreements when he asked for a raise. May 2, 1960 … Ben E. King became a solo artist! Thank you, George, it was a great decision for both Ben E. King and the Drifters. Mr. King went on to release many Soul and Pop classics as a solo artist. I had the honors and pleasure of working with Ben E. King in concerts, and even a famous supper club starring Ben E. King with my band as his opener and backing for the show. That evening Ben invited me on stage to sing a duet with him at the Montemurro’s showroom. Unrehearsed, impromptu, like we were friends from childhood yet never sang together , ever. I have sung with many well known artists but there was a special energy or charge that went through my body that evening … a feeling I will never forget. This man is part of Rock n’ Roll, Soul and Pop History. This man was there from the beginning. This man is a vocal Icon. This man was the most down to earth gentleman I have ever met in my music career. Not long after that, I was on a show with Ben E. King, again we opened and then backed him but it was not like other shows … Ben was just a regular guy, spent time with all my bandmates, broke bread together and shared music stories. I truly felt a connection with the great Ben E. King … in closing I just want to say … thanks George! And thanks for the music and memories Mr. Ben E. King!

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