CCM artist with west coast touch…
Born in Waco, Texas, Benny began studying classical music at age four and continued his studies through high school with European teachers and musical innovators John and Martha Reuther. He was among the first to master John Reuther’s futuristic chromatic “checkerboard” designed keyboard and one of a handful of musicians to become expert on the instrument, playing public performances to demonstrate it’s attributes over the standard keyboard.
Benny auditioned and was chosen to sing with “The Texas Boys Choir”.
He became the youngest member of the Texas Swing Band “Sam Weaver and The Texas Playboys”, and appeared on the band’s weekly television show playing alongside guest music legends including Johnny Gimble and Ernest Tubb.
While in high school, Benny was one of the founding members of the popular pop-rock band “The Morticians”. He wrote songs for the group and included them in sets for the band’s sizable revved up audiences. Headed now by original band member Joe Hall, “The Morticians” continue to play concerts regularly – www.themorticians.com
Benny was hired to play in the live stage band and orchestra for the long running musical “Texas” and continued with the show for two years. While performing in “Texas” he founded the singing duo “Hester & Hilton” with partner Steve Hilton. “Hester & Hilton” performed their own songs along with stylized takes on songs by their favorite artists. While playing El Paso, Benny was asked to write two songs for a recording session by the group “The Sojourners”. It turned out to be his first professional recording session as a songwriter. The two songs were produced and engineered by Norman Petty and recorded at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico, where Benny had the opportunity to work with the legendary Petty and record in his hit studio. Hester and his older brother, a music fan with a ten-year head start on him, grew up listening to and singing Buddy Holly songs. Petty produced and recorded those songs. Benny coincidentally attended Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX, home to Petty and birthplace of Holly.
Hester moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he met music producer and recording engineer Brent Maher. He taught music at a private music school, recorded “Hester & Hilton” demos at Bill Porter’s United Recording Studios, and later formed a successful jingle advertising company, MusAd, which dominated the Las Vegas radio and television market for ten years. He penned the song for Hickory Farms Of Ohio and Nevada’s largest newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal, with the slogan “The RJ is Las Vegas” appearing on billboards and ads still. Together Benny and Brent wrote and produced commercial songs for many Las Vegas hotels and banks, Nevada’s largest home builders, trendy clothing manufacturers and outlets and notably, at the request of coach Jerry Tarkanian, the original University Of Nevada Las Vegas fight song and school song for the UNLV “Runnin’ Rebels” basketball team. Maher went on to produce Hester’s first two albums, the self titled, Benny…, and his first CCM album for Billy Ray Hearn’s Sparrow Records.
Maher and Bill Porter, Elvis Presley’s recording and sound engineer, brought Elvis’s band to record with Benny for his first album. The band included Ronnie Tutt, James Burton, Glenn Hardin and Jerry Scheff, as well as Larry Mahoberac and Joe Osborn.
The finished masters and packaged albums, ready for record company distribution, were lost in the studio-warehouse fire that destroyed United Recording. Benny’s first album was never released. Only a few albums survived the fire, ending up in the hands of collectors.
Hester has since released a string of hit albums and chart topping songs, and has performed thousands of concerts. His recording of “When God Ran” is the longest running number one song in Contemporary Christian Music history, number one for thirteen weeks, at which time the song held the number one spot on the AC and CHR Charts. Simultaneously Benny’s recording of “Secret Thoughts” made it’s way to the number one slot on the ROCK Charts, causing him to sweep the top spot on all three. “When God Ran” continues to be rerecorded by many groups and in many musical genres, making it to the top of the charts repeatedly. The latest version by “The Kingsmen” will take the number one spot on the Southern Gospel Charts in February 2009.
From 1991 to 1996 Hester was the Music Producer/Musical Director, Songwriter and Co-Executive producer of the award winning MTV/Nickelodeon television series Roundhouse. He was nominated for seven songwriting and music producer awards, winning for “I Can Dream” and “Can’t Let Go” in the best “Original Song” for television category, and three times as Co-Executive Producer for best “Variety Special Or Series”.
Hester was the recipient of the prestigious “Ollie Award” for “Excellence In Television Programming For America’s Children”.
Benny lives in Southern California and continues to schedule appearances and concerts. A new album is in the works and a four-song sample of the latest studio tracks can be heard at www.bennyhester.com
Myrrh Records 1998
Tracks: Nobody Knows Me Like You, Be A Receiver, Legacy, Secret Thoughts, Remembering Me, Jesus Came Into My Life, Melody Man, Out Of The Natural, Underground River, Rubber Canoe, Hold Me, Whoever Touches You, To Fill Our Empty Hearts, Christ the Solid Rock & When God Ran.
Musicians on the Personal Best album: Benny Hester and others.
United We Stand
Frontline Records 1991
Tracks: Closer To Me, Love Is Made Of This, These Old Dreams, Restless Nights, Noonday Night, You Can Have Mine, Rain Rain Rain, Too Bad She Didn’t Want Me, Two Blue, Break Out & Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.
Musicians on the United We Stand album: Benny Hester and others.
Frontline Records 1990
Tracks: Headlights on the Highway, Before You Know It, If You Die Before You Die, Perfect, Hungry World, You Weren’t Meant to Live Your Life Alone, Two Good Reasons, This One’s For Keeping, Passion Possession Position & Shall We Gather At the River.
Musicians on the Perfect album: Benny Hester and others.
Through The Window
Myrrh Records 1987
Tracks: Underground River, Cat, In Visible Silence, Remember Me, The More I Enter In, Wonderful Invention Of Love * Nothing Will Ever Be the Same Again * It’s Over Love * Long Lost Heaven & This Is Me.
Musicians on the Through The Window album: Benny Hester and others.
Benny From Here
Myrrh Records 1986
Tracks: Secret Thoughts, Streets Of Las Vegas, When God Ran, Susie Said Yeah!, To Fill Our Empty Hearts, Back To Basics, Can I Get To You From Here, Whoever Touches You, Marching On & Hold Me.
Musicians on the Benny From Here album: Benny Hester and others.
Myrrh Records 1983
Tracks: Legacy, Closer, It Took So Long, Melody Man, Sensitive Heart, Caught Away, Out Of the Natural, Nobody’s Listening, Footprints & These Things Were Done By You.
Musicians on the Legacy album: Benny Hester and others.
Be A Reciever
Myrrh Records 1982
Tracks: Be A Receiver, Squeeze You, All You Can Do, Jesus Came Into My Life, The Door, Gonna Happen Here, Only You, Such A Relief, Sure Of Your Call & We All Know He’s Comin’.
Musicians on the Be A Reciever album: Benny Hester, Dan Flannery, Ed Arnold, Jeff Lams & John Parenti.
Nobody Knows Me Like You
Myrrh Records 1981
Tracks: Come Back, No Man’s Land, Rubber Canoe, You Loved Me, Step by Step, One More Time, Goodbye Salty, Real Change, Nobody Knows Me Like You & Christ The Solid Rock.
Musicians on the Nobody Knows Me Like You album: Benny Hester, Marty Walsh, John Wickham, Abraham Laboriel, Jeff Lams, Michael Omartian, Ron Tutt, Bobby LaKind, Kim Hutchcroft, Tommy Funderburk, Julia Tillman Waters & Maxine Waters Willard.
Sparrow Records 1978
Tracks: Be A Receiver, Squeeze You, Sure Of Your Call, Jesus Came Into My Life, The Door, Gonna Happen Here, All You Can Do, Only You, Such A Relief, & We All Know He’s Comin’.
Musicians on the Benny Hester album: Benny Hester, Dan Flannery, Ed Arnold, Jeff Lams & John Parenti.