b. Benjamin Franklin Peay, 19th September 1931, Camden, Kershaw County, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 9th April 1988, Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Brook Benton was born Benjamin Franklin Peay, in Camden, South Carolina in 1931.
He was, probably, best remembered for his hit recording of the song, 'Rainy Night In Georgia', which also became a hit for other recording artists, including Randy Crawford.
His father was a Methodist minister, and a young Benjamin sang in his church as a child.
At 17 years of age, he went to New York to pursue his music career.
Benjamin sang with several gospel groups, pitchin in at various times with the groups The Langfordaires (around 1948), The Jerusalem Stars (around 1951), and The Harlemaires.
He returned to Camden and joined the group the Sandmen, whom he took to New York, where they signed with the Okeh imprint.
At Okeh they released 'When I Grow Too Old To Dream' b/w 'Somebody To Love' in 1955 (a song Brook was later to record as a solo artist for Mercury Records).
the sandmen in 1955
clockwise: Furman Haynes (baritone), Walter Springer (second tenor), Benjamin Peay (lead) and Adriel McDonald (bass)
Adriel McDonald was once in the group the Ink Spots.
Okeh pushed Brook into a solo career, thus he underwent a name change to simply Brook Benton at the suggestion of label executive Marv Halsman.
Although he began recording seriously in 1953, his first hit came in 1959, with a Clyde Otis and Belford Hendricks collaboration.
at his best - 1959 / it's just a matter of time - 1959
brook benton - 1959 / endlessly - 1959
'It's Just A Matter Of Time' b/w 'Hurtin' Inside' reached the U.S. Top 3, which led on to several other hits, including 'So Many Ways' b/w 'I Want You Forever' (in 1959), 'Endlessly' (number 12 in 1959 and later recorded by Mavis Staples), 'The Boll Weevil Song' (in 1961) and 'Hotel Happiness' (in 1962).Both of the 1959 released hits were written by Brook with Clyde Otis.
The songs were originally offered to Nat King Cole, however, when Clyde Otis became an A&R official at Mercury, he signed Brook to the imprint, suggesting Brook record the songs himself.
i love you in so many ways - 1960 / the two of us - 1960
songs i love to sing - 1960 / the boll weevil song - 1961
In 1960 a duets album with Dinah Washington was released, entitled 'The Two Of Us', which included, 'Baby (You've Got What It Takes)' b/w 'I Do', a million seller, and 'A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around And Fall In Love)' b/w 'I Believe', both of which topped the R & B charts that year.
In 1963, Brook recorded two singles with Damita Jo (one of which, 'Yaba-Taba-Do' remains unreleased).
there goes that song again - 1962 / best ballads of broadway - 1963
born to sing the blues - 1964 / do your own thing - 1969
Brook remained signed to the Mercury label until 1964, releasing the album 'Born To Sing The Blues', before moving to RCA Records, then Reprise Records in 1967.
During this period, he recorded one single with the U.K. group the Troggs, entitled 'If You've Got The Time, We've Got The Beer'.
In 1969 he signed with Cotillion Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, where he released the album 'Do Your Own Thing'.
brook benton today - 1970 / home style - 1970
the gospel truth - 1971 / something for everyone - 1973
In 1970, he had his last major hit with 'Rainy Night in Georgia' b/w 'Where Do I Go From Here?', which was taken from his album 'Brook Benton Today'.
The song was later an international hit for Randy Crawford.
Brook continued to record for several imprints during the 70's, including Brut (owned by the after shave company), Stax and MGM.
sings a love story - 1975 / mr bartender - single 1976
this is brook benton - 1976 / makin' love is good for you - 1977
In 1976, Brook was recording for Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum label, where he scored a minor hit with the single 'Mr. Bartender'.
He released two albums at All Platinum entitled 'Mr. Bartender' and 'This Is Brook Benton', the latter containing the Moments penned song 'It Started All Over Again' and a cover version of Stevie Wonder's song 'All Is Fair In Love'.
He died in New York in April 1988, aged 56, as a result of a bout of pneumonia whilst weakened by spinal meningitis.
Brook Benton At His Best (Epic Records 1959)
It's Just A Matter Of Time (Mercury Records 1959)
Brook Benton (Mercury Records 1959)
Endlessly (Mercury Records 1959)
I Love You In So Many Ways (Mercury Records 1960)
with Dinah Washington:
The Two Of Us (Mercury Records 1960)
Songs I Love To Sing (Mercury Records 1960)
The Boll Weevil Song (& Eleven Other Great Hits) (Mercury Records 1961)
Sepia (Mercury Records 1961)
If You Believe (Mercury Records 1961)
Singing The Blues - Lie To Me (Mercury Records 1962)
There Goes That Song Again (Mercury Records 1962)
Best Ballads Of Broadway (Mercury Records 1963)
Born To Sing The Blues (Mercury Records 1964)
Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got) (Reprise Records 1967)
Do Your Own Thing (Cotillion Records 1969)
Brook Benton Today (Cotillion Records 1970)
Home Style (Cotillion Records 1970)
The Gospel Truth (Cotillion Records 1971)
Something For Everyone (RCA Records 1973)
Sings A Love Story (RCA Records 1975)
Lovin' (RCA Records Records 1976)
Mr Bartender (All Platinum Records 1976)
This Is Brook Benton (All Platinum Records 1976)
Makin' Love Is Good For You (Olde World Records 1977)
Ebony (Olde World Records 1978)
Back To Back (Mercury Records 1978)
Brook Benton Sings The Standards (RCA Records 1984)