Born as Benjamin Franklin Peay in Camden, South Carolina on September 19, 1931, Brook Benton as a teenager was singing gospel music in a Methodist church choir.
With a voice described as “the velvet touch”, early in his career Brook Benton made a living as a “demo” singer, recording and writing songs that would be passed on to such stars as Roy Hamilton, Nat “King”Cole and Clyde McPhatter.
Signed by Vik Records as a solo artist, Brook Benton would have his own chart hit in early 1958 with “A Million Miles from Nowhere”, but it was a year later as a Mercury recording artist a song written by him “It’s Just a Matter of Time” would really start his career, peaking at #3 on the Hit Parade in January, 1959. In that same year he would have five songs on the Hit Parade, “Endlessly”, also penned by Brook would hit in April, “Thank You Pretty Baby” in July, “So Many Ways” in October and a Christmas offering, “This Time of the Year” for the holidays. Teaming up with label mate Dinah Washington in 1960 with “A Rockin’ Good Way” and “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes). ” Brook continued with another top ten hit as a solo artist with “Kiddio” and “Fools Rush In” that same year.
With more than 50 chart appearances for singles and albums in his career, “Think Twice” started 1961 for Brook, followed by “The Boll Weevil Song” and “Frankie And Johnny.” “Hotel Happiness” earned him another gold single in 1962 and “Rainy Night in Georgia” did the same in 1970.
Equally as popular in England as he was in the United States, Brook Benton was a very talented song writer for other artists too. Among them, “The Stroll” for the Diamonds, “A Lover’s Question” for Clyde McPhatter and Nat “King” Cole’s “Looking Back”.
Brook Benton died on April 9, 1988 in New York of pneumonia and spinal meningitis. He was 56.
In 2009 Brook Benton was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.