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Ben E. King’s Life in Photos

From the Drifters to “Stand By Me” to hanging out with Ringo, a journey though the life of a soul legend

Ben E. King

Ben E. King circa 1963.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Ben E. King, who passed away on April 30th after a brief illness, will forever be linked to his 1961 classic "Stand By Me." The former Drifters singer wrote the tune with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and it became such an iconic work that it eclipsed nearly everything else from King's catalog. But the singer had an amazing run in the Drifters that earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and his career continued for over five decades afterwards. Here's a photo journey through his whole history. 

Charlie Thomas, Ben E. King, Dock Green, Elsbeary Hobbs

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1959: 1959, New York, New York City, Drifters, L-R: Charlie Thomas, Ben E. King, Dock Green, Elsbeary Hobbs. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Drifters Years

Charlie Thomas, Ben E. King, Dock Green and Elsbeary Hobbs of the Drifters in 1959.

Ben E. King

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Ben E King (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Performing in 1960

Ben E. King onstage in 1960, one year before "Stand by Me" hit the airwaves.

Ben E. King

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1963: 1963, New York, New York City, Ben E. King. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Portrait of the Artist

Ben E. King circa 1963, the year he landed on the charts with "I (Who Have Nothing)."

Ben E. King

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Ben E King performs on 'Ready Steady Go' television show filmed in London, England in 1966 (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty

Live on London TV

Ben E King performs on 'Ready Steady Go,' filmed in London in 1966.

Ben E. King

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Ben E. King Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Soul Man Enters the Seventies

Ben E. King posing for a portrait in 1970.

Ben E. King

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of Ben E KING (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Drifting Into the 1980s

Ben E. King performing in 1987.

Ben E. King

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Ben E KING (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty

No Rough Edges

Ben E. King onstage in 1995.

Ben E. King

(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Ben E. King (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Atlantic Records)

Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty

Remembering a Friend

Ben E. King during Ahmet Ertegun's tribute at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2007.

Ben E. King and Prince Royce

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 11: Singers Ben E. King (L) and Prince Royce perform onstage during the 11th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 11, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS)

Kevin Winter/WireImage/Getty

Prince Meets King

Ben E. King performs with Prince Royce during the 11th annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on November 11th, 2010.

Ben E. King

Noam Galai/WireImage/Getty

Honoring Lennon

Ben E. King performs during the 34th Annual John Lennon Tribute Benefit Concert in New York on December 5th, 2014.

In This Article: Ben E. King

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