THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
804-Ben E. King-Stand by Me.
1961-Number 27 single. When re-released in 1987 it reached Number 1.
Best Bit-At 0.46.There are over 400 recorded versions of this song, with this, the original version alone, earning it’s writers in royalties, in excess of £17 million.
‘Stand by Me’ was co-written by the legendary song writing team of Jerry Leiber (1933-2011,) and Mike Stoller (see also best songs 954-124 and 86) along with this songs vocalist Ben E. King (1938-2015.)’Stand by Me’ was recorded by Ben E. King shortly after leaving The Drifters in 1960 (see also best songs 568.) Stand by Me was the name of a Gospel Hymn written in 1905 by Philadelphia minister Charles Tindley (1851-1933,) this is where King got the idea for the song from. King took his idea for the song to Leiber, and Stoller, and the three of them shared the royalties, with King receiving 50%, and Leiber, and Stoller, 25% each.
In 1986 the song was used in the movie of the same name, featuring River Phoenix, which introduced it to a whole new generation, but it wasn’t until 1987 when ‘Levi Jeans’ used the song for an advertising campaign, that it really took off, reaching Number 1 in the UK, and Number 9 in America.Benjamin Earl King was born in September 28th, 1938 in Henderson, North Carolina, United States, before finding success as a solo artist he had been lead singer with The Drifters between 1958-1960, he can be heard singing lead on songs including ‘There Goes my Baby’, and ‘Save the Last Dance for Me.’
Of all the cover versions of the song, King chose the 1975 recording by John Lennon as his favourite, King said, ‘He made the song his own.’Other notable hit versions of the song are from American Soul singer Spyder Turner (1967,) American Country singer Mickey Gilley (1980,) and 4 The Cause (1998.) In 2007 Reggae influenced singer Sean Kingston sampled the song for his UK Number 1 single, Beautiful Girls.
‘When the night as come,and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we see.’