♫ Stand By Me ♫

There have been over 400 recorded versions of this song, performed by many artists, including John Lennon and Muhammad Ali — yes, that Muhammad Ali — “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee …”

My favourite, however, remains the original sung by Ben E. King and written by King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller.  It was featured in the 1986 film of the same name, based on a Stephen King novella and directed by Rob Reiner.

In 2015 King’s original version was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, just under five weeks before his death. Later in the year, the 2015 line up of the Drifters recorded it, in tribute to him.

Released in 1961, Stand By Me hit #1 on the US R&B charts, but only made it to #27 in the UK.  Anyway … have a listen, see what you think …

Stand By Me
Ben E. King

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darling, darling stand by me
Stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Songwriters: Ben King / Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
Stand By Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Raleigh Music Publishing

29 thoughts on “♫ Stand By Me ♫

  1. Ben E. King’s original version of this song has stood the test of time and will always be the best, at least in my opinion. I do not recall ever hearing the John Lennon version. But…if you have not listened to Muhammad Ali singing the song on his 1963 comedy album, “I Am the Greatest – Cassius Clay”, you definitely should. Maybe not the greatest, but darn close! This was released about 6 months before he won the World Heavy Weight Champion title from Liston and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. 400 versions…I’ll refer you back to my comment on Friday’s song…just in case you were not able to cut and paste. Great song on a not so great day. Thank-you!

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    • Once again, you have proven to be a walking encyclopedia!!! I will check out Ali’s version … or should I say I will try to … I am getting overwhelmed with things on my ‘to-do’ list this weekend! 😉

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      • My Father had the original vinyl Cassius Clay album, I remember it well. He was a huge fan of the brash, boastful boxer and loved watching him in the ring. Even my Mother thought the singing was good, although the rest of the album was unappreciated by her. I did not try to find it, although it is probably available on You-Tube. Now, I must search and listen again and you must too! It was impossible to live with my Father and miss any of the details of the Clay/Ali saga…I can remember it all so clearly. Thank-you!

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          • Muhammad Ali is deserving of his very own song of the day post…just a thought. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”; sing like an angel, that was Ali! WOW, I can add poet to my resume…a tarnished Gem, that’s what I am. You know, this could open up a whole new world of possibilities…a new, though aged, poetess! Now, some might say ‘don’t quit your day job’, no problem I’m retired. Any thoughts, snarky is okay, I can take it…most poet/poetess’s are not appreciated in their own time? Thank-you!

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            • I think it is a fabulous idea! Poetry may well be your forte, stop lying around — go make some hay, and while you’re at it have a great day! 😉 But, I do find “poetess’ difficult to say, for my tongue keeps wanting to turn it into ‘poetress’ … so, personally I think the ‘r’ is needed, although spell-check disagrees with me, for it only put a red squiggly line under my version. Sigh.

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              • The suffix “ess” is the feminine form of poet…like the words actress, waitress and stewardess. Many women today prefer the gender-neutral forms of these job related titles. I, myself, do not prefer being gender-neutral in my new endeavor…hence, call me a poetess. Poetess has a bit of a flair about it, that poet lacks. However, poetess laureate does not flow quite as nicely as poet laureate. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it. My only problem, I seem to have hit a dry spell already! Perhaps, I should stick to just being a Gem. Do not, for a New York minute, think that I did not notice that poem you slipped in so surreptitiously. Thank-you!

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                • I somehow knew that the grammar-purist would correct me, but still … I shall likely continue to refer to you as poetress. Live with it. 😉 Now wait… you’ve hit a dry spell ALREADY??? You wrote exactly ONE ditty and that was the limit of your repertoire? Sigh. You are a great Gem … and Benjamin appreciates that, but you can also be a poetress. But you know what I think? I think that if you sit and try to make poems/rhymes come, they won’t. Clean out that closet, and while doing so, let your mind have free rein. Go for a walk and don’t think, consciously, about a darn thing … just let the mind flow. Now, tomorrow send me your new poem! Hugs, my friend!

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  2. Jill, I think this song ranks up high on any list as one of the most meaningful songs ever. I have shared the same sentiment over Imagine by John Lennon, but another that ranks high has a similar theme – Lean on me by Bill Withers. Well done. Keith

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    • There’s one I haven’t heard nor thought of in years … Lean on Me … but yes, I agree. They are among the greats. Every now and then I use my daughter’s car and she has her radio set to a station playing the current ‘hits’ … I usually turn it off within a minute, for today’s popular music just doesn’t do anything for me. I’m stuck in a music time warp, I think.

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  3. Stax and other soul labels hadn’t really started taking off in the UK then but Motown was soon to make it big. I remember this record coming out though I was still in school (occasionally) and loved it.Ben E King was a big hit with me.
    Cwtch

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    • Since it came out in ’61 when you were only ten-years-old, I do hope you weren’t already cutting classes! I’m glad you liked this one … they don’t make them like this anymore. At least, I don’t think they do … I stopped listening to what was new on the radio the year I retired, 2008, for none of it really appealed to me, and once I wasn’t spending an hour a day in the car, I didn’t need it. I am, as Chris says, stuck in the bad taste section (her opinion, not mine) for life. 😉
      Cwtch

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