Roger Ridley performing in Santa Monica shortly before died in 2005.
In the 1990s Roger played on the NYC subway platforms and I used to watch him every day during my commute. I'd listen with tears in my eyes. No singer had more soul. I gave him tips each time. And I'd often miss my train because I could not leave. I was transfixed by his greatness.
Around 2001 he left NYC to perform regularly in Las Vegas at the (then new) New York New York Hotel in the role of (what else?) a street performer.
Ridley eventually moved to Santa Monica and got "discovered" by music producer Mark Johnson. Roger's performance of "Stand By Me" inspired Johnson to produce this round-the-world rendition... viewed by more than 106,000,000 people.