By Uncle Mike
Some of the sweetest sounds you will ever hear will be emanating from the Count Basie Theatre on the night of Wednesday, December 21. That’s the night that the venerable Red Bank music hall hosts “Love For The Holidays,” a concert featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Darlene Love and Ben E. King.
Produced by TBO – To Benefit Others, a nonprofit promotion company established by Sammy Boyd, the performance is a benefit for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County. Boyd and his company have been producing benefit concerts for the Boys And Girls Clubs of Monmouth County in Red Bank and Asbury Park since 2006. Some of their previous efforts have featured the likes of Tony Bennett, Frankie Valli, Liza Minelli, Ronnie Spector and the band Chicago. Through the years Boyd has developed a great deal of respect for the Boys & Girls Clubs and their cause and has become a strong supporter of the organization.
Darlene Love is one of the most sought after and gifted voices on the American music scene. From her early work with The Blossoms and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans right on through her Phil Spector years and up to her present day efforts, Darlene Love has left her mark not only in the world of rhythm and blues, but in the genres of rock and pop as well. The quantity and quality of artists who have sought her out reads like a list of who’s who in American music history. Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, The Beach Boys and U2 are just a few of the artists she has performed or recorded with.
For over six decades Love has been thrilling fans and peers alike with such outstanding recording as “He’s A Rebel” (The Blossoms released as The Crystals), “Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah” (Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans), “He’s Sure The Boy I Love” (The Crystals), “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “All Alone On Christmas” and the list does not end there. Love is not only one of the newest members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (inducted in March 2011), and most deserving I might add, she is a national treasure.
As for Ben E. King, he needs no introduction. All you really need to know is this: ‘Stand By Me,” “Spanish Harlem” and “There Goes My Baby.” These three songs were named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll.” And King’s recording of “Stand By Me” was voted one of the Songs Of The Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. When King joined a doo wop group known as The Five Crowns in 1958, it turned out to be one of the best moves of his career. Later that year George Treadwell, the manager of The Drifters, fired all of that group’s members and replaced them with The Five Crowns, thus opening the door for King. And did he ever take advantage of that opening by singing lead on such Drifters’ hits as ‘There Goes My Baby,” “Save The Last Dance With Me,” “Dance With Me,” “This Magic Moment” and “I Count The Tears.” Suddenly King found himself the lead singer of the most popular R&B group in the world. Little did anyone know that he was just getting started.
In 1960 King made a huge decision and left The Drifters for a solo career. It was a move that would not only change his life, but it would alter the face of American music forever. First came his hit song “Spanish Harlem” in early 1961 and then later that year he released the legendary “Stand By Me.” The rest, as they say, is history. From 1959 to 1986 King had five number one songs, 12 Top Ten hits and 25 Top 40 hits. Most appropriately, in 1988 he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Drifters.
And as if all of this doesn’t already appear to be a match made in heaven, consider this, music fans: Fact #1 – Darlene Love was born in July of 1938. Fact #2 – Ben E. King was born later that year in September. Fact #3 – In the spring of 1938, Isaiah Matlock, Chairman of the Asbury Park Kiwanis Club boys and girls program committee, recommended to the board of directors of the Kiwanis Club that they explore the possibility of establishing a boys club in Asbury Park. In September 1938 the Kiwanis Boys Club opened its doors at 1017 Main St., Asbury Park. That boys club is now known as the Boys And Girls Clubs of Monmouth County with branches in Asbury Park and Red Bank. 1938, pure coincidence or fate? I’ll let you decide.