Brook Benton

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Brook Benton
Brook Benton 1959.jpg
Promotional photo of Benton.
Background information
Birth name Benjamin Franklin Peay
Born (1931-09-19)September 19, 1931
Lugoff, South Carolina, United States
Died April 9, 1988(1988-04-09) (aged 56)
Queens, New York, United States
Genres Pop, R&B, soul
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1958–88
Labels Mercury, Cotillion, RCA

Brook Benton, born Benjamin Franklin Peay, (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988) was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as "It's Just A Matter of Time" and "Endlessly", many of which he co-wrote.

He made a comeback in 1970 with the ballad "Rainy Night in Georgia." Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.

Early life and career[edit]

When Benton was young he enjoyed gospel music, wrote songs, and sang in a Methodist church choir in nearby Camden, where his father, Willie Peay, was choir master.[1] So in 1948 he went to New York to pursue his music career. He went in and out of gospel groups such as The Langfordaires, The Jerusalem Stars, and The Golden Gate Quartet. Returning to his home state, he joined a R&B singing group, The Sandmen, and went back to New York to get a big break with his group. The Sandmen had limited success, and their label, Okeh Records, decided to push Peay as a solo artist, changing his name to Brook Benton, apparently at the suggestion of label executive Marv Halsman.[2]

Brook earned a good living writing songs and co-producing albums. He wrote songs for artists such as Nat King Cole, Clyde McPhatter (for whom he co-wrote the hit "A Lover's Question"), and Roy Hamilton. Soon he released his first minor hit, "A Million Miles from Nowhere". Later he went on to the Mercury label, which would eventually bring him larger success. Also he appeared in the 1957 film Mr Rock And Roll with Alan Freed.

Success[edit]

Finally in 1959 he made his breakthrough with his hits "It's Just a Matter of Time" and "Endlessly". "It's Just a Matter of Time" peaked at #3 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, while "Endlessly" made it to #12. Both of the first two hits were written by Benton with Clyde Otis. They were originally offered to Nat King Cole, but when Otis became an A&R official at Mercury, he convinced Benton to sign with the label and record them himself, while asking Cole not to record the songs as planned.[3] He followed this success with a series of hits, including "So Many Ways" (#6), "Hotel Happiness" (#3), "Think Twice" (#11), "Kiddio" (#7), and "The Boll Weevil Song" (#2). In 1960, he had two top 10 hit duets with Dinah Washington: "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" (#5) and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)" (#7).[4]

He also recorded his own version of "Take Good Care of Her" in 1962. In the mid- and late 1960s, Benton recorded for RCA Records and Reprise Records with minimal commercial success. In 1969, he signed with Cotillion Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, where the next year he had his last major hit with "Rainy Night in Georgia".[4]

Benton eventually charted 49 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, with other songs charting on Billboard′s rhythm and blues, easy listening, and Christmas music charts.[5] The last album made by Benton was Fools Rush In, which was released posthumously in 2005. At one point he was recording on Groove Records.[6]

Death[edit]

Weakened from spinal meningitis, Brook died of pneumonia in Queens, New York City, at the age of 56 on April 9, 1988. He was survived by his wife, the late Mary Benton, and five children, Brook Jr., Vanessa, Roy, Chandra E W, Gerald and Benjamin, all of Queens.

Discography[edit]

Benton in 1970

Albums[edit]

Year Album United States Pop
1959 It's Just A Matter of Time -
1959 Endlessly -
1959 This Time of Year 12
1960 I Love You in So Many Ways -
1961 Golden Hits 82
1961 The Boll Weevil Song And 11 Other Great Hits 70
1962 If You Believe 77
1962 Singing the Blues – Lie to Me 40
1963 Golden Hits, Volume 2 82
1963 Best Ballads of Broadway -
1964 Born To Sing The Blues -
1964 Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got) 156
1969 Do Your Own Thing 189
1970 Brook Benton Today (1.) 27
1970 Homestyle 199
1972 Story Teller -
1973 Something for Everyone -
1977 The Incomparable Brook Benton – 20 Greatest Hits (Warwick) -

1. "Brook Benton Today" also hit #4 on the US RnB LP charts in 1970.

Singles[edit]

Year Single US Pop US R&B US AC UK Singles Chart[7] Album
1958 "A Million Miles from Nowhere" 82
1959 "Endlessly" 12 3 28
1959 "Hurtin' Inside" 78 23
1959 "This Time of the Year" 66 12 This Time of the Year
1959 "It's Just a Matter of Time" 3 1 It's Just a Matter of Time
1959 "So Close" 38 5
1959 "So Many Ways" 6 1
1959 "Thank You Pretty Baby" 16 1
1959 "With All My Heart" 82
1960 "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" (with Dinah Washington) 5 1
1960 "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)" 24 5 50 Songs I Love to Sing
1960 "Someday You'll Want Me to Want You" 93
1960 "Kiddio" 7 1 41
1960 "A Rockin' Good Way (to Mess Around and Fall in Love)" (with Dinah Washington) 7 1
1960 "The Same One" 16 21
1960 "The Ties That Bind" 37 15
1960 "Hither and Thither and Yon" 58
1961 "For My Baby" 28 2
1961 "Frankie and Johnny" 20 14 6 The Boll Weevil Song
1961 "It's Just a House Without You" 45 8
1961 "Think Twice" 11 6
1961 "The Boll Weevil Song" 2 2 1 30 The Boll Weevil Song
1962 "Hit Record" 45 19
1962 "Lie to Me" 13 3 Singing The Blues
1962 "Revenge" 15 12
1962 "Shadrack" 19
1962 "The Lost Penny" 77
1962 "Still Waters Run Deep" 89
1962 "Walk on the Wild Side" 43
1963 "Hotel Happiness" 3 2
1963 "I Got What I Wanted" 28 4 14 Singing The Blues
1963 "Dearer Than Life" 59
1963 "My True Confession" 22 7 8 Singing The Blues
1963 "Two Tickets to Paradise" 32 15 8
1964 "Another Cup of Coffee" 47 4 13
1964 "Going Going Gone" 35 5 11
1964 "A House is Not a Home" 75 6 13
1964 "Too Late to Turn Back Now" 43 8 14
1964 "Lumberjack" 53 11 15
1964 "Do It Right" 67 33
1965 "Love Me Now" 100 37
1965 "Mother Nature, Father Time" 53 26 9 Mother Nature, Father Time
1966 "Break Her Heart" 37
1967 "Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got)" 78 37
1968 "Weakness in a Man" 36
1968 "Do Your Own Thing" 99 26
1969 "Nothing Can Take the Place of You" 74 11
1970 "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home" 45 31 4 Home Style
1970 "My Way" 72 25 35 Today
1970 "Rainy Night in Georgia" 4 1 2 Today
1971 "Shoes" 67 18 18
1978 "Making Love is Good for You" 49

References[edit]

  1. ^ French, Howard (April 10, 1988). "BROOK BENTON, SINGER OF HIT TUNES KNOWN FOR HIS BALLADS, DIES AT 56". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Marv Goldberg, Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks: The Sandmen"
  3. ^ Colin Escott, "Clyde Otis: Looking Back". Goldmine, October 1, 1993, pp. 42–43.
  4. ^ a b Brook Benton at Allmusic.
  5. ^ Joel Whitburn, Top Pop Singles 1955–1999 (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, 2000), 48–49.
  6. ^ Shaw, Arnold (1978). Honkers and Shouters. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 463. ISBN 0-02-061740-2. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 54. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]