Before Spike Jonze made feature films like Being John Malkovich,
Tragically Ben E. King passed away last week and now a hole remains in the lining of good music. King lead a life of music and got his big break with the band The Drifters, known for “Under the Boardwalk”, “On Broadway”, and many others. After splitting from the band, he pursued a solo career and made quite a name for himself, namely for the song I’m here to discuss. For me, “Stand By Me” can be the happiest song or the saddest song depending, but even when it’s happy it still hits me right in the feels.
- “Stand By Me” was the first song recorded by Ben E. King after leaving The Drifters
- It’s based on a gospel song by the name of “Lord, Stand By Me”
- King first heard it performed by The Staple Singers and was inspired to record his own version, but his manager with The Drifters wouldn’t allow it
- King later auditioned with famous songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. He first sang a few pop songs and then segued into a half written “Stand By Me”. The parts he hadn’t worked out yet he filled in by humming.
- Songwriting credits are listed as Ben E King and Elmo Glick which was a pseudonym used by Leiber and Stoller
- “Stand By Me” is the most recorded song in history with over 400 recordings from various artists
- It was featured on the Top Ten Hits of the US twice. Once when it was originally released (#4) and again when the 1984 film of the same name came out (#9).
- It wasn’t released on an actual album until 2 years after it’s initial recording
- “Stand By Me” has Rolling Stone’s #122 spot on their 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time list
- Is the 4th most-performed song of the 20th century. That’s roughly 7 million performances worldwide.
- John Lennon’s recording held the 20th spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975