Stand by Me (song)

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"Stand by Me"
Single by Ben E. King
from the album Don't Play That Song!
B-side"On the Horizon"
Released1961
Format7" single, 12" single
RecordedOctober 27, 1960
GenreSoul, rhythm and blues
Length2:57
LabelAtco
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Ben E. King singles chronology
"First Taste of Love"
(1961)
"Stand by Me"
(1961)
"Amor"
(1961)
 
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This article is about the song originally recorded by Ben E. King. For other songs of the same name, see Stand by Me (disambiguation).
"Stand by Me"
Single by Ben E. King
from the album Don't Play That Song!
B-side"On the Horizon"
Released1961
Format7" single, 12" single
RecordedOctober 27, 1960
GenreSoul, rhythm and blues
Length2:57
LabelAtco
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Ben E. King singles chronology
"First Taste of Love"
(1961)
"Stand by Me"
(1961)
"Amor"
(1961)
"Stand by Me"
Single by John Lennon
from the album Rock 'n' Roll
B-side"Move Over Ms. L"
ReleasedMarch 10, 1975
Format7" vinyl
Recorded1974
GenreRock
Length3:26
LabelApple
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)John Lennon
John Lennon singles chronology
"#9 Dream"
(1974)
"Stand by Me"
(1975)
"Imagine"
(UK 1975);
"(Just Like) Starting Over" (1980)
"Stand by Me"
Single by Maurice White
from the album Maurice White
Released1985
Format7", 12"
GenreRhythm and blues, soul
Length4:07
LabelColumbia
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Maurice White
"Stand by Me"
Single by Mickey Gilley
from the album Encore
B-side"Here Comes the Hurt Again"
Released1980
Format7"
Recorded1980
GenreCountry
Length3:38
LabelEpic
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Jim Ed Norman
Mickey Gilley singles chronology
"True Love Ways"
(1980)
"Stand by Me"
(1980)
"That's All That Matters"
(1980)
"Stand by Me"
Single by Prince Royce
from the album Prince Royce
Released2010
Recorded2009
GenreBachata
Length3:25
LabelTop Stop Music
Writer(s)Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Producer(s)Sergio George
Prince Royce singles chronology
"Stand by Me"
(2010)
"Corazón Sin Cara"
(2010)

"Stand by Me" is a song originally performed by American singer-songwriter Ben E. King. It was written by King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, inspired by the spiritual "Lord Stand by Me",[1] plus two lines rooted in Psalms 46:2–3. There have been over 400 recorded versions of the song. The song is featured on the soundtrack of the 1986 film Stand by Me.

Song information[edit]

According to the documentary History of Rock 'n' Roll, Ben E. King had no intention of recording the song himself when he wrote it.[2] King had written it for The Drifters, who passed on recording it. After the "Spanish Harlem" recording session, he had some studio time left over. The session's producers, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, asked if he had any more songs. King played "Stand by Me" on the piano for them. They liked it and called the studio musicians back in to record it.

Stoller recalls it differently:

I remember arriving at our office as Jerry and Ben were working on lyrics for a new song. King had the beginnings of a melody that he was singing a cappella. I went to the piano and worked up the harmonies, developing a bass pattern that became the signature of the song. Ben and Jerry quickly finished the lyrics ... .[3]

In another interview, Stoller said:

"Ben E. had the beginnings of a song—both words and music. He worked on the lyrics together with Jerry, and I added elements to the music, particularly the bass line. To some degree, it’s based on a gospel song called "Lord Stand By Me". I have a feeling that Jerry and Ben E. were inspired by it. Ben, of course, had a strong background in church music. He’s a 50% writer on the song, and Jerry and I are 25% each.... When I walked in, Jerry and Ben E. were working on the lyrics to a song. They were at an old oak desk we had in the office. Jerry was sitting behind it, and Benny was sitting on the top. They looked up and said they were writing a song. I said, “Let me hear it.”... Ben began to sing the song a cappella. I went over to the upright piano and found the chord changes behind the melody he was singing. It was in the key of A. Then I created a bass line. Jerry said, “Man that’s it!” We used my bass pattern for a starting point and, later, we used it as the basis for the string arrangement created by Stanley Applebaum."[4]

The personnel on the song included Romeo Penque on sax, Ernie Hayes on piano, Al Caiola and Charles McCracken on guitars, Lloyd Trotman on bass, Phil Kraus on percussion, and Gary Chester on drums. Songwriting credits on the single were shown as King and Elmo Glick—a pseudonym used by Leiber and Stoller.

King's record went to No. 1 on the R&B charts[5] and was a Top Ten hit on the U.S. charts twice—in its original release in 1961, when it peaked at No. 4, and a 1986 re-release coinciding with its use as the theme song for the movie of the same name following its appearance in the film, when it peaked at No. 9, and also in an advertisement for Levi Jeans. It also reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1987 after its re-release, mostly because of the jeans spot, originally reaching No. 27 on its first release.

The song was not released on an album until it had been out as a single for two years. The song appeared on King's Don't Play That Song! album.

"Stand by Me" was ranked 122nd on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1999, BMI named it as the fourth most-performed song of the 20th century, with about seven million performances.[6]

On March 27, 2012, the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that "Stand by Me" would receive its 2012 Towering Song Award and that King would be honored with the 2012 Towering Performance Award for his recording of it.[7]

Structure[edit]

The song uses a version of the common chord progression now called the 50s progression, which has been called the "'Stand by Me' changes"[8] after the song.

Notable covers[edit]

There have been over 400 recorded versions of "Stand by Me". Some of the more notable ones are:

Chart performance[edit]

Ben E. King[edit]

Chart (1961)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[20]1
US Billboard Hot 100[20]4
UK Singles Chart[21]27
Chart (1986)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 1009
Chart (1987)Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[21]1
Irish Singles Chart1
Swiss Music Charts3
Dutch Top 407
Austria Top 407
Sweden Singles Chart8
Norway Singles Chart9

John Lennon[edit]

Chart (1975)Peak
position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart10
US Billboard Hot 100[22]20
US Cashbox Top 100[22]20
UK Singles Chart30

Mickey Gilley[edit]

Chart (1980)Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles1
U.S. Billboard Hot 10022
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks3
Canadian RPM Country Chart3
Canadian RPM Singles Chart51

Maurice White[edit]

Chart (1985)[12]Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs6
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary11
U.S. Billboard Billboard Hot 10050

Prince Royce[edit]

Chart (2010)[23]Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Latin Tracks8
U.S. Billboard Latin Tropical Airplay1
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Songs17

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002, p. 382. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc., ISBN=0-89820-155-1.
  2. ^ "Good Rockin' Tonight". (c) 1995 Time-Life Video.
  3. ^ Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with David Ritz. p. 174. Published by Simon & Schuster, 2009.
  4. ^ Marc Myers, "Interview: Mike Stoller (Part 3)", JazzWax, May 31, 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2014
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 325. 
  6. ^ BMI.com | News | BMI Announces Top 100 Songs of the Century
  7. ^ www.songhall.org: Stand By Me Named Towering Song, Ben E. King Towering Performance, March 27, 2012. Accessed April 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "The So-Called 'Flattened Seventh' in Rock". Allan Moore. Popular Music, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May 1995), pp. 185–201. Published by: Cambridge University Press.
  9. ^ An interview with Spyder Turner in 2010 at Soul Express
  10. ^ Different versions ofStand By Me
  11. ^ Blaney, John (2005). "1973 to 1975: The Lost Weekend Starts Here". John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0. 
  12. ^ a b The album Maurice White on allmusic.com
  13. ^ Prince Royce All Set To Touch The Sky
  14. ^ Premio Lo Nuestro 2011 Winners List
  15. ^ 4 The Cause – Stand By Me (Song) at austriancharts.at (German)
  16. ^ Chartverfolgung 4 The Cause: Stand By Me (Single) at musicline.de (German)
  17. ^ Stand by Me (song) at AllMusic. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  18. ^ Disney Robs Spark From Twain Tale, Chicago Sun-Times
  19. ^ Sneider, Jeff (August 1, 2014). "The Top 10 Songs in This Year's Movie Trailers That TheWrap Is ‘Crazy in Love’ With". The Wrap. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Ben E. King awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Ben E. King". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0. 
  23. ^ Prince Royce Billboard Singes Allmusic.com
Preceded by
"Dancin' Cowboys"
by The Bellamy Brothers
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single (Mickey Gilley version)

August 9, 1980
Succeeded by
"Tennessee River"
by Alabama
Preceded by
"I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
by Aretha Franklin and George Michael
UK number one single
Ben E. King version

February 21, 1987
(for three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Everything I Own"
by Boy George