Most Wanted! Ben E. King – Supernatural Thing (Disco Special Cut) (Atlantic/Promo)
Ben E. King got into slightly groovier territories in the mid-70’s. For this to happen, he partnered with producer Bert DeCoteaux, renowned for his collaborations with Crown Heights Affair among others. A collab which would give birth to the aforementioned and ‘Music Trance’ 4 years later.
The King definitely reached one of his peaks vocally speaking on ‘Supernatural Thing’. Served by beautiful lyrics co-written by Gwen Guthrie, and a sound engineering courtesy of Bob Clearmountain and Ron St. Germain.
Only pressed as a 7″ Stateside, this masterpiece would nevertheless be given a UK limited 12″ promo pressing…
Born in Henderson, NC, Ben E. King launched his singing career in his father’s restaurant. Established in Harlem, NYC in 1947, he formed a Doo-Wop group (the Four B’s) during his high school days. He then would join The Five Crowns, another group in the genre, in 1958. He and his mates were soon after to replace the original members of The Drifters at the invitation of their manager, George Treadwell. From then, King would sing the lead on many of their hits, beginning with the memorable ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’.
He left the band for contractual reasons before the release of the latter, although remaining with Atlantic Records as a solo artist. He would score his first success the following year with ‘Spanish Harlem’. Meanwhile its follow-up – ‘Stand by Me’ – (*) ultimately would be voted as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (* Wikipedia).
The mid-70’s saw King flirting with groovier vibes. Along with producer Bert DeCoteaux, on ‘Supernatural Thing’ and ‘Music Trance’, in 1975 and 1979. He also teamed up with Scottish funk combo Average White Band on ‘Benny And Us’, an album which featured the memorable ‘A Star In The Ghetto’.
His last album for Atlantic was ‘Street Tough’, with its title track featuring Luther Vandross and Ullanda McCullough in the backing vocals.
Ben E. King died of natural causes on Apr 30, 2015 in Hackensack, NJ. He was 76.
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