Ben E King & Jimmy James UK Tour 2013
Ben E King
King was born Benjamin Earl Nelson on September 28, 1938 in Henderson, North Carolina, and moved to Harlem, New York, at age 9.
In 1958, King (still using his birth name) joined a doo wop group called The Five Crowns. Later in 1958, The Drifters' manager George Treadwell fired the members of the original Drifters, and replaced them with The Five Crowns. King had a string of R&B hits with the group on Atlantic Records. He co-wrote and sang lead on the first Atlantic hit by the new version of the Drifters, "There Goes My Baby" (1959). He also sang lead on a succession of hits by the team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, including "Save the Last Dance for Me," "This Magic Moment," and "I Count the Tears." King only recorded 13 songs with The Drifters, including a non-single called "Temptation" (later redone by Drifters vocalist Johnny Moore).
Due to a dispute over his contract, including a salary increase and a fair share of royalties, King was never again given a chance by Drifters manager George Treadwell to perform with the group on tour or on television. After the dispute settled, King was hired only to sing until a replacement for him was found. On television, fellow Drifters member Charlie Thomas usually lip synched the songs that King had recorded with the Drifters. This end gave rise to a new beginning. In May 1960, King left the Drifters, assuming the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a successful solo career. Remaining on Atlantic Records on its Atco imprint, King scored his first solo hit with the ballad "Spanish Harlem" (1961). His next single, "Stand by Me," written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, ultimately would be voted as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. "Stand by Me," "There Goes My Baby," and "Spanish Harlem" were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and were all given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, as well as "Save The Last Dance For Me." King's other well-known songs include "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)," "Amor," "Seven Letters," "How Can I Forget," "On the Horizon," "Young Boy Blues," "First Taste of Love," "Here Comes the Night," "Ecstasy," and "That's When It Hurts." In the summer of 1963, King had a Top 30 hit with "I (Who Have Nothing)," which reached the Top 10 on New York's radio station, WMCA.
King's records continued to place well on the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 1965. British pop bands began to dominate the pop music scene, but King still continued to make R&B hits and minor pop hits, including "What is Soul?" (1967) and "Supernatural Thing" (1975). A 1986 re-issue of "Stand by Me" followed the song's use as the theme song to the movie Stand By Me, and re-entered the Billboard Top Ten after a 25-year absence. In 1990, King and Bo Diddley, along with Doug Lazy, recorded a revamped rap version of The Monotones' 1958 hit song "Book of Love" for the soundtrack of the movie Book of Love. He also recorded a children's album, I Have Songs In My Pocket, written and produced by children's music artist Bobby Susser in 1998, which won the "Early Childhood News' Directors' Choice Award" and "Dr. Toy's/The Institute For Childhood Resources Award." King performed "Stand by Me" on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2007. Ahmet Ertegun said, "King is one of the greatest singers in the history of rock and roll and rhythm and blues."
As a Drifter and as a solo artist, King had achieved five No. 1 hits: "There Goes My Baby," "Save The Last Dance For Me," "Stand By Me," "Supernatural Thing," and the 1986 re-issue of "Stand By Me." He also earned 12 Top 10 hits and 25 Top 40 hits from 1959 to 1986. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Drifter; he has also been nominated as a solo artist.
King's "I (Who Have Nothing)" was selected for the The Sopranos' Peppers and Eggs Soundtrack CD .
Currently, King is active in his charitable foundation, the Stand By Me Foundation and is also a founding Champion of the Global Village Champions Foundation along with Muhammad Ali, Gary US Bonds, and Yank Barry. He has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey since the late 1960s.
King performed "Stand By Me" during a televised tribute to late comedian George Carlin, as he was one of Carlin's favorite artists. On November 11, 2010, he performed "Stand By Me" on the Latin Grammys with Prince Royce.
King toured the United Kingdom, performing at venues in England, Scotland and Wales during 2011. For a full list of the tour dates, visit CanAm Entertainment.
King's album "Heart & Soul" released in 2010 on the CanAm Records label takes a page from The Great American Songbook and features contributions from various jazz greats. JazzTimes heralded King's new release for its emotional and musical impact.
Jimmy james & The Vagabonds
Jimmy James & The Vagabonds at The Birdcage in Portsmouth
The Vagabonds were originally formed in 1960. Later, James, already a successful solo artist in Jamaica, teamed up with them under Canadian band manager Roger Smith and in April 1964, they relocated to the UK. "Ska-Time" (Decca Records) was recorded as Jamaica's Own Vagabonds within two weeks of their arrival, and is one of the first examples of Jamaican ska music to be recorded in the UK. In 1965 they undertook more gigs and recordings in Hungary, organised as part of a cultural exchange programme, with The Vagabonds being one of the few Western European bands ever to play in the former communist state. Also in 1965, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds supported The Who and Rod Stewart who was with his group The Steam Packet at the Marquee Club in London. The band played the Shanklin Pier ballroom on the Isle of Wight in June 1965 and returned for 2 further sold-out concerts that summer. He and the Vagabonds shared several bills with Jimi Hendrix's band, The Experience, during the late 1960s when they were both trying to establish themselves.
"We used to hang out a lot at clubs like the Bag O' Nails, the Cromwellian and Whiskey A Go Go. A great guy, very quiet and unassuming," James recalled. The Vagabonds and the Experience also played the Ricky Tick and Upper Cut clubs in London in December 1966 and January 1967, respectively and at the Beachcomber Ballroom in Nottingham.
They signed a recording contract with Pye Records and released their best known studio album, The New Religion in 1966. The band also played as support for The Who, and Sonny & Cher, Rod Stewart (who was also on Pye Records at the time), and The Rolling Stones. The band often used the Abbey Road Studios, once being there at the same time as The Beatles were recording. Their live performance was captured in the album, Live at the Marquee, also featuring The Alan Bown Set. Jimmy James and the Vagabonds were labelmates and rivals of Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
The Vagabonds disbanded in 1970, but James, who owned the name, reformed the band with a new, all white line-up in 1974. They had hits in the UK Singles Chart with " I'll Go Where Your Music Takes Me" and "Now Is The Time".
Former Vagabonds bass player Alan Wood (1973—77) now runs his own management agency and represents Paul Carrack.
In 1979 a new band, Big Business, was formed by Alan Kirk and Andrew Platts, former Vagabonds and they continue to tour to this day. Big Business toured with Mick Jackson ("Blame It on the Boogie"). Kirk owns Hilltop Studios in Dronfield near Chesterfield. Platts is managing editor of the entertainment paper, Mercury Newspaper in Sheffield.
In 1999, drummer Russ Courtenay co-wrote the track "Whatever You Need", which appeared on Tina Turner's album, 24/7, and later on her All the Best and The Platinum Collection compilation albums. He is currently working on a project entitled 'Rainbow Beach'.
In 2007, James contributed the track "The Other Side of the Street" for Ian Levine's Northern Soul 2007 album.
Fri 23 Grand Pavilion Esplanade Porthcawl CF36 3YW
Sun 25 Floral Pavilion Virginia Rd New Brighton Wirral CH45 2LH
Tue 27 The Stables Stockwell Lane Wavendon Milton Keynes MK17 8LU
Wed 28 Concert Hall Civic Centre Motherwell ML1 1AB
Thu 29 Carnegie Hall Eastport Dunfermline KY12 7JA
Fri 30 Jam House Queen St Edinburgh EH2 1JE
Sun 1 DG One Centre Hoods Loaning Dunfries DG1 2HT
Tue 3 Eden Court Bishops Rd Inverness IV3 5SA
Wed 4 Jam House St Pauls Sq Birmingham B3 1QU
Fri 6 Concorde Club Stoneham Lane Eastleigh Hampshire SO50 9HQ
Sat 7 Bunns Leisure Paddock Lane Selsey PO20 9EJ
Sun 8 Robin 2 Mt Pleasant Bilston Wolves WV14 7LJ
Wed 11 Parr Hall Palmyra Sq Warrington WA1 1BL
Thu 12 Albert Halls Victoria Sq Bolton BL1 1SA
Fri 13 Towngate St Martins Sq Basildon SS14 1DL
Sat 14 Tropicana Robin Hood Skegness PE24 5TR
Sun 15 Pavilion Westover Rd Bournemouth BH1 2BU
Wed 18 Buttermarket Howard St Shrewsbury Shropshire SY1 2LF
Thu 19 Gordon Craig Lytton Way Stevenage SG1 1LZ
Fri 20 Concorde Club Madeira Drive Brighton East Sussex BN2 1EN
Sat 21 Playhouse Playhouse Sq Harlow CM20 1LS