Born: September 19, 1931 | Died: April, 1988 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Brook Benton was one of the most popular recording artists in late 1950s and early 1960s, scoring over 50 hits on the Billboard charts, and collecting 18 certified gold records. He was also a prolific songwriter having penned songs that have become standards, as “It's Just a Matter of Time and Endlessly.
Benjamin Franklin Peay was born in Camden, South Carolina, on September 19, 1931. Benton sang in his church as a child, and continued with gospel music into his teens. By age seventeen, Benton left for New York City to try his luck in the popular music business, and began singing on demo tapes for aspiring songwriters peddling their songs.
He teamed up with another budding songwriter named Clyde Otis and they had a huge hit with “Looking Back” for Nat King Cole. Following up with “A Lover's Question,” for Clyde McPhatter, both in the late 1950's. He finally came into his own when he wrote and recorded “It's Just A Matter of Time,” which topped the charts in 1959. A series of solo hits followed, including Endlessly, Thank You, Pretty Baby, and So Close. Benton then recorded the album “The Two of Us” with acclaimed jazz singer Dinah Washington, continuing with Baby, You’ve Got What It Takes and A Rockin’ Good Way. The collaboration has endured the test of time and still considered duo singing at its best.
He had another big hit with the novelty tune “The Boll Weevil Song,” in 1961, which was to be his last big number though he did score with a version of “A Rainy Night in Georgia,” a few years later in 1970.
After a period of relative obscurity, he signed with Olde World Records in 1978, releasing “Making Love Is Good for You,” which became a modest hit. He continued to perform and enjoyed a popularity with the nostalgia craze, but he died in April 1988, aged 56, succumbing to pneumonia while weakened by spinal meningitis.