Who is this famous R&B singer whose last major hit was "Rainy Night in Georgia"?
Singer/songwriter Brook Benton was born Benjamin Franklin Peay (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988), in Camden, South Carolina. He became a gospel singer at a young age and was a member of the Camden Jubilee Singers. Benton moved to New York City in 1948 to try his luck as a songwriter. When he first arrived in NY he sang with Bill Langford's Spiritual Singers, The Langfordaires, The Golden Gate Quartet, and The Jerusalem Stars. He went back to South Carolina, drove a truck for a while, and joined the R&B singing group The Sandmen before returning to NY in search of a big break. This time he found a successful career co-producing albums and writing songs for such artists as Nat 'King' Cole, Clyde McPhatter, and Roy Hamilton.
In 1959, he finally made his breakthrough with hits like "It's Just a Matter of Time" and "Endlessly". "It's Just a Matter of Time" peaked at No. 3 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. "Endlessly" made it to No. 12. Benton followed this success with a series of hits, including "The Boll Weevil Song" (No. 2). In 1960, he had two top 10 hit duets with Dinah Washington: "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" (No. 5) and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)" (No. 7).
In 1968, he enjoyed his last major hit with "Rainy Night in Georgia", written by Tony Joe White and produced and arranged by Arif Mardin, a million-seller who topped the Billboard R&B chart.