Ben E. King & Freda Payne


It’s really very simple. Ben E. King is one of the great singers from the world of Rock n’ Roll and American pop music in general. When I lived in New York, I arranged a bunch of records for him. I also played piano and percussion on many of his records as well. He has a great sound, and really gets into the meat of a lyric. I recently saw him perform live, and he is still great. I might add that the audience agreed with me. They loved him. When I hear him on the radio today, I just smile because I know he is the honest to goodness real deal.


I met Freda Payne in Atlantic City where she was performing. I was conducting for Neil Sedaka at the Sands Hotel. Her manager called me and invited me to see her perform. I knew she was a good singer, but I had never watched her live on stage.

Wow, was I knocked out. She was great. I heard her sing and I knew that I had to work with her. We became good friends instantly. She is a real nice person as well as a fine performer.