The song has beautiful words and a beautiful sentiment from the writers Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. The first to record the song were The Drifters, who had Ben E. King on the lead at the time. The record was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. In 1960, their version went to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The cover by Jay and the Americans in 1969 went to #6 and earned an RIAA gold record.
Group membership for The Drifters, who formed in New York City, is ever-changing. For this record, it was Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Dock Green, and Elsbeary Hobbs. The instrumentation included Phil Bodner (sax), Ernie Hayes (piano), Bucky Pizzarell and George Barnes (guitar), George Duvivier (bass), and Shep Sheppard (drums). The Drifters started in 1953 and continue to perform internationally today. Ben E. King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson) was with the group in one of its iterations from 1958 to 1960 before embarking on a solo career, which has been very successful. King passed away on April 30, 2015.