Saturday, 2 May 2015

So farewell, then, Ben E. King... thanks for everything, especially "On the Horizon"

That glorious, swooning, yearning slice of lushly orchestrated exotica was the B-side to 1962's "Don't Play that Song", which reached No.11 on the US charts. Both sides were written and produced by Leiber and Stoller. I don't think "On the Horizon" is as great a record as, say, "Stand By Me" or "Spanish Harlem" - it only just makes it into the Top 10 of great tracks featuring Ben E. King - but it's my Ben E. King song, maybe because it's not played that often. Here's is my Top Ten of Ben E. King's "magic moments" (see what I did there?), with and without The Drifters:

1. Stand By Me
2. Spanish Harlem
3. Save the Last Dance for Me
4. This Magic Moment
5. There Goes My Baby
6. Don't Play that Song (You Lied)
7. I Count the Tears
8. I (Who Have Nothing)
9. On the Horizon
10. Tell Daddy

I have nothing useful to add to what everyone else has said about Ben E. King - except that his lovely voice, which was sufficiently light to make it perfect for pop songs as well as big soul ballads, permeated my childhood, and that the news of his death has made me come over all nostalgic. I'll leave you with some more of this richly talented singer's less-celebrated performances, mostly from the pop end of his back catalogue:


  1. What a voice.'What is Soul' would be my #1.

    1. Damn! I'd completely forgotten that song! It was on that brilliant Atlantic sampler album, "This is Soul" released in 1968.

  2. yes,its the opening few bars that does it for me.