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HUNTSVILLE , AL (WCBI) – A well known area musician has passed away.

Most recently known as the organizer and lead vocalist for Big Ben Atkins and the “Class of 65,” Ben Atkins died Monday at a Huntsville, Alabama hospital.

Originally from Vernon Alabama, Atkins has performed all over the region over the past 40 years. Atkins was the first white solo artist to sign with Stax Records, a previously predominately black artist label, which was the label of such great artists like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and many others during the 60’s.

Chandler Funeral Home in Vernon is handling the arrangements.

Comment on this Story

  • Jimmy Corder

    So sadden to hear of Big Ben passing. First time I ever heard him was at the Southeraire in Columbus, Ms. in 1966 somewhere along that with his song that he wrote. ”There’s a party going on, come on over””. I still sing it to this day!!I have seen him in the last several years. Praying for his family and friends!!

  • bc

    Big Ben Atkins enjoyed this past year playing his music with his son BIG DOG Chris Atkins who also played drums and sang.. He was very proud of his son Chris and said he would carry on his legacy.
    He died of heart failure Monday night after being hospitalized since April 19th. Just wanted the facts straight for those of you who saw any of his shows this past year. We all loved Big Ben and he will be missed.

  • Pam Miller

    Big Ben was an unforgettable entertainer and I will cherish every moment I heard he and the Nomads play at the Southernaire! Didn’t miss many Saturday nights with them in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

  • dlt

    I remember Big Ben when I went to the Southeraire in Columbus. The name of the band at that time was Big Ben and the Second Hand. Those were the good ole’ days…and they were the best band around!!!!

  • Sharon Mullane

    I was there in Columbus as well and think that I still have a copy of “Come on Over”. Ben was a fabulous singer and was a very special man.

  • Philip Cash

    I just happened to see the news of the passing of Big Ben. I remember Charles & Roger Moore, Dan Pennington and Ben practicing up the street from where I lived. They were great even in the early days. Ben later came back and did music for our prom in Vernon. I miss those good times. My thoughts and prayers go to Chris & family

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