Born Benjamin Earl Nelson, singer Ben E. King, best known for his classic "Stand By Me" passed away Thursday in New Jersey according to CNN. He was 76.King's career started with The Drifters in 1958 where he had a string of hits with the group as a lead singer and writer. Their first hit was "There Goes My Baby" in 1959 but King would leave the group a few months later due to a contract dispute. In 1961, King would have his first solo number one hit with "Spanish Harlem".

It would be King's next single that would prove to be his greatest recording. "Stand By Me" would shoot straight to the top of the R&B charts in 1961. It was named one of "The Greatest Songs of All Time" by Rolling Stone, it is one of the most performed songs of the 20th Century according to BMI (over 7 million performances), and it managed to become a hit AGAIN in 1986 thanks to the movie "Stand By Me". In March 2015, his original recording was inducted into the National Recording Registry by The Library of Congress.

The star also established 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.

More From KSSM-FM