I was so sad to hear today that the great Ben E. King had passed away.
I feel incredibly thankful that I had the good fortune to see Ben E King perform with The Drifters and Darlene Love at his 70th birthday bash at BB King’s Bar and Grill, on 42nd Street in New York.
Our table was right at the back of the room and my seat was facing the door, but did I care? Hell no! For The Drifters, Darlene Love and most of all for Ben E King , I’d have sat under the table, facing a row of kneecaps!
I forced my neck through impossible contortions to scan the rest of the crowd. It was dotted with faces that I felt I knew, or should have known. Who was that guy in the pork pie hat? Who was that lady in the red dress?
There was a hush, then a cheer as the King family, including Ben E.’s 90 year old mother, filed in through a side entrance. They filled one side of the room. Then the show began.
Age had not wearied The Drifters; those harmonies were just as slick and those moves just as sharp as they ever were. Darlene Love had the room rocking. When at last, backed by his nieces, Ben E. King, took the stage to sing, I was blinking back tears. Yes, Ben E King was still the King of the twist!
It was an unforgettable evening and a memory I will cherish for ever.
May you rest in peace Ben E King and may eternal light shine upon you.