Songwriters Friends



Born Benjamin Franklin Peay in Camden, South Carolina in 1931, Brook Benton became a gospel singer at a young age. While still a child he worked delivering milk in the morning and joined the Camden Jubilee Singers.

He enjoyed writing songs and in 1948, at age 17, journeyed to New York City to try to sell some of them. With his gospel singing background, it was not long before he drifted in and out of gospel groups such as Bill Langford's Spiritual Singers, the Langfordaires, the Golden Gate Quartet, and the Jerusalem Stars. Brook returned to South Carolina and drove a truck for a while continuing his music career. He joined an R&B singing group, the Sandmen, and once again went north in search of a big break.

Brook found steady work making hundreds of demo records for such established singers as Nat "King" Cole, Clyde McPhatter, and Roy Hamilton. He co-wrote a number of songs with Clyde Otis. He first recorded under his own name for the Okeh label in 1953. Brook signed as a solo act with Epic and had his first minor hit with “A Million Miles From Nowhere” on Vic. He went on to Mercury along with Clyde Otis and arranger Belford Hendricks, and it was at Mercury that he would meet with his greatest success.

In 1959 he broke through with a two-sided hit, “It's Just A Matter Of Time”, backed by “Endlessly”. The former reached #1 on the RnB charts and the latter #3, and those were the first of 23 top forty hits that Brook Benton would record, either as a solo or a duet, from 1959 to 1964.

Brook had a certain warmth in his voice that attracted a wide variety of listeners. He sang ballads that led to comparisons between Brook and such established performers as Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, and Tony Bennett. He had another top ten hit with “So Many Ways,” then was teamed with another emerging Mercury star, Dinah Washington. In 1960 this duo put two songs in the top ten, “Baby [You've Got What It Takes]” and “A Rockin' Good Way [To Mess Around And Fall In Love].”

In the early 60's the hits that he recorded kept coming. These included a string of top ten pop hits such as “Kiddio,” “The Boll Weevil Song,” and “Hotel Happiness.” He was prolific in issuing records that sold, one of which was “Shadrack.” “The Boll Weevil Song” was Brook's only successful novelty song, and his highest charting song ever as it held the number two slot for three weeks in the summer of 1961.

His string of successful hits began to slow down somewhat in about 1963, although he still managed to reach the top forty with records such as “I Got What I Wanted” and “Two Tickets To Paradise,” and “Going Going Gone” in 1964 for Mercury. The arrival of the Beatles marked a change in taste by the record buying public. Brook began to go from label to label, recording for RCA, Reprise and Cotillion.

Brook Benton remained popular as a performer, particularly in Great Britain, into the 80's. He died in New York City in 1988 of complications from spinal meningitis.

Artists

American Quartet
Andrews Sisters
Louis Armstrong (Satchmo)
Fred Astaire
Chet Atkins
Gene Austin (Voice of the Southland)
Gene Autry
Nora Bayes
Brook Benton
Ben Bernie
Connee Boswell
Fanny Brice
Henry Burr
Cab Calloway
Glen Campbell
Albert Campbell
Carter Family (First Family of Country Music)
Enrico Caruso
Ray Charles
Patsy Cline
Larry Clinton
Rosemary Clooney
Nat Cole (King)
Arthur Collins
Perry Como
Bing Crosby
Bob Crosby
Frank Crumit
Vic Damone
Sammy Davis Jr.
Doris Day
Tommy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey
Cliff Edwards
Ruth Etting
Shep Fields
Eddie Fisher
Ella Fitzgerald
Tennessee Ernie Ford
Connie Francis
Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul)
Lefty Frizzell
Jan Garber
Judy Garland
George J. Gaskin (The Silver Voice Irish Tenor)
Marvin Gaye
Benny Goodman (King of Swing)
Glen Gray
Byron G. Harlan
Marion Harris
Charles Harrison
Haydn Quartet
Dick Haymes
Horace Heidt
Woody Herman
Billie Holiday (Lady Day)
Whitney Houston
Eddy Howard
Ink Spots
Harry James
Lewis James
Al Jolson
Ada Jones
George Jones
Sammy Kaye
Hal Kemp
Wayne King (Waltz King)
Pee Wee King
Kay Kyser
Frankie Laine
Brenda Lee
Ted Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis (The Killer)
Guy Lombardo
Vincent Lopez
Harry MacDonough
Freddy Martin
Dean Martin
Johnny Mathis
John McCormack
Glenn Miller
Mills Brothers
Vaughn Monroe
Russ Morgan
Billy Murray (The Denver Nightingale)
J.W. Myers
Ozzie Nelson
Olivia Newton-John
George Olsen
Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Vess L. Ossman (The King of the Banjo)
Buck Owens
Patti Page
Minnie Pearl
Peerless Quartet
Peter, Paul & Mary
Elvis Presley (The King)
Ray Price
Prince's Orchestra
Dan Quinn
Leo Reisman
Paul Robeson
Roy Rogers
Linda Ronstadt
Diana Ross
Ben Selvin
Artie Shaw
Nat Shilkret
Dinah Shore
Frank Sinatra
Bessie Smith (Empress of the Blues)
Sousa's Band
Len Spencer
Dusty Springfield
Jo Stafford
Frank Stanley
Kay Starr
Cal Stewart
Barbra Streisand
The 4 Seasons
The 5th Dimension
The Byrds
The Carter Family
The Commodores
The Drifters
The Everly Brothers
The Four Tops
The Impressions
The Miracles
The Platters
The Righteous Brothers
The Spinners
The Supremes
The Temptations
Ernest Tubb (Texas Troubadour)
Sophie Tucker
Van & Schenck
Walter Van Brunt
Sarah Vaughan
Fred Waring
Dionne Warwick
Ted Weems
Kitty Wells
Paul Whiteman
Margaret Whiting
Bert Williams
Andy Williams
Teddy Wilson
Tammy Wynette