The iconic R&B singer Ben E. King, immortalized by his hit song “Stand By Me,” died on Thursday. He was 76.
King was part of the popular 1950s band The Drifters, singing hits like “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “There Goes My Baby” and “This Magic Moment,” all of which continue to be mainstays on oldies radio stations. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
King decided to quit the group over a contract dispute—the group’s management paid the performers only $100 a week, despite their massive success. He went solo in the early ’60s and had a huge success in “Stand By Me,” which climbed the charts again more than two decades later when a movie by the same name debuted.
Writing about the song in a 2013 article, he said, “I still perform it in all my shows. I’ll do it as long as I’m breathing. I’m so proud it has stood the test of time.”