♫ Stand By Me ♫ (Redux)

I first played this song in October 2018, so it’s not too soon for a redux, is it?

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

♫ Save The Last Dance For Me ♫

I was rolling smokes a while ago, doing a mental checklist.  Comments answered?  Check.  Jolly Monday scheduled?  Check.  Email cleaned up?  Check.  Music post?  Oops … I knew I had forgotten something.  So, the song I was whistling at that moment was Tom Jones’ I Who Have Nothing, which is a great song, but … I already played that one last September, and I did promise new content after last night’s redux.  The other song that I found myself whistling, then humming, was this one … Save the Last Dance for Me.  I knew I had done songs by The Drifters before, but lo and behold!  I haven’t played this one yet!

This song tells the story of a couple at a dance. He tells his wife that she is free to dance and socialize with other men throughout the evening, but she should not forget that she is going home with him. Inspiration for the song came from a very personal experience.

The songwriting team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman wrote this song. In Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life & Times of Doc Pomus, Alex Halberstadt explains that one night, Pomus found a wedding invitation in a hatbox, and back came his most vivid memory from his wedding: watching his brother Raoul dance with his new wife while Doc, who had polio, sat in his wheelchair. Inspired, he stayed up all night writing the words to this song on the back of the invitation. Shuman had played him a soaring Latin melody that afternoon, and he wanted the words to sound like a poem translated into English – something along the lines of Pablo Neruda. By the second verse, a hint of jealousy and vulnerability creeps in with the lyrics, “If he asks if you’re all alone, can he take you home, you must tell him no.” Pomus ended his night of songwriting by writing down the words that would become the title: Save The Last Dance For Me.

Pomus and Shuman were writers for Atlantic Records, where they worked with the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who produced this song. Leiber and Stoller were great with Latin rhythms, which is what they used here and what Pomus had in mind with the flow of the lyrics. Leiber and Stoller were using The Coasters to record most of their songs at the time, and had asked Pomus and Shuman to write songs for The Drifters.

The Drifters lead singer for this song was Ben E. King, who a few months later started scoring solo hits with Spanish Harlem and Stand By Me. When they were recording the song Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun told King how the song was inspired by Pomus watching his wife dance with another man at his wedding, and King drew on that story to wring out the emotion in his vocals.

In a rare bonehead move by Atlantic Records honchos Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, they relegated this song to the B-side of another Pomus/Shuman composition called Nobody But Me.  It was Dick Clark who broke the song when he flipped the single and played Save The Last Dance for Me on his show American Bandstand. The song gave The Drifters their only #1 hit.

Emmylou Harris in 1979 and Dolly Parton in 1984 have had Country hits with this song, and Michael Bublé reached #99 in the US with his version.  But, with apologies to Harris, Parton and Bublé , I still prefer the Drifters.

Save The Last Dance For Me
The Drifters

You can dance every dance with the guy
Who gives you the eye, let him hold you tight
You can smile every smile for the man
Who held your hand ‘neath the pale moonlight

But don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Oh, I know that the music’s fine (oh, I know, yes I know)
Like sparkling wine go and have your fun
Laugh and sing but while we’re apart
Don’t give your heart to anyone

But don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Baby, don’t you know I love you so?
Can’t you feel it when we touch?
I will never, never let you go
I love you, oh, so much

You can dance, go and carry on
‘Till the night is gone and it’s time to go
If he asks, if you’re all alone
Can he take you home, you must tell him, no

‘Cause don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arm’s you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me

‘Cause don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arm’s you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, hmm

Save the last dance for me, hmm, hmm
Save the last dance for me, hmmm
Save

Songwriters: Doc Pomus / Mort Shuman
Save The Last Dance For Me – Re-Recording (by Original Artist) lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit Music Group

♫ I Who Have Nothing ♫

It is rare that I prefer a later version to the original of a song.  And, even rarer that I prefer another over Ben E. King, for he’s a longtime favourite.  But, I have to admit that my preference for I Who Have Nothing is none other than that Welshman, Tom Jones.

King’s version, released in 1963, went to #29 on the U.S. charts, but didn’t play well elsewhere, from what I can find.  Then it was covered by:

  • 1966 Terry Knight and the Pack (who later became Grand Funk Railroad) (#46)
  • 1970 Liquid Smoke (#82)
  • 1970 Tom Jones (#14)

The song’s melody was based on an Italian song, “Uno Dei Tanti,” (English: “One of Many”), which King had heard in Italy. King’s producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller translated the lyrics into English.

As far as I can tell, the Tom Jones version hit #16 in the UK, but I could not verify that, so if anybody is aware of anything different, please feel free to correct me.  This wasn’t his most successful song, but since it was stuck in my head this evening, I decided it must be the song of the day!

I shall offer up both Tom Jones’ and Ben E. King’s versions …

I Who Have Nothing
Tom Jones

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you and want you so
I’m just a no one with nothing to give you but, oh
I love you

He, he buys you diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
But, believe me, dear, when I say
That he can give you the world, but he’ll never love you the way
I love you

He can take you any place he wants
To fancy clubs and restaurants
But I can only watch you with
My nose pressed up against the window pane

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Must watch you go dancing by
Wrapped in the arms of somebody else when, darling, it’s I
Who loves you

I love you
I love you
I love you

Songwriters: Giulio Mogol Rapetti / Carlo Donida / Mike Stoller / Jerry Leiber
I Who Have Nothing lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave

♫ I Keep Forgettin’ ♫

Tonight I am tired and was just settling down after washing a mountain of dishes to decide on the song for the day, but my mind wasn’t cooperating.  Then all of a sudden, as if dropped onto my dashboard by karma, came a comment from friend Patty with a suggestion …

“How about,  I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) by Michael McDonald? I love that one!!!!”, said she, and so it shall be!

Michael McDonald recorded this with his sister Maureen McDonald providing background vocals. It was featured on If That’s What It Takes, his first solo album away from The Doobie Brothers.  Greg Phillinganes, Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of the band Toto played the clavinet, guitar and drums respectively. Noted bassist Louis Johnson laid down the song’s pronounced bassline.

This song was written by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and was originally recorded by R&B singer Chuck Jackson in 1962. The song was also recorded by The Checkmates Ltd. and The Hi-Fi’s before Michael McDonald put together a new version of the song with Ed Sanford of Sanford And Townsend. It was the first solo hit for McDonald.

And without further ado … here you go, Patty!

I Keep Fogettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)
Michael McDonald

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’

Everytime you’re near
Everytime I see you smile
Hear your “hello”
Saying you can only stay a while

Hey, I know that it’s hard for you
To say the things that we both know are true
But tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’

Everytime I hear
How you never want to live a lie
How it’s gone too far
And you don’t have to tell me why

Why you’re gone and the game is through
If this is what’s real, if this is what’s true
Tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore (baby)
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear (yeah, baby)
I keep forgettin’

Don’t say that, don’t say that, don’t say that
I know you’re not mine anymore, anyway, anytime
But tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore (How come I)
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’ (baby)

Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore)
Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again)
Oh Baby (I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear)
Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’)

Songwriters: Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
I Keep Fogettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ 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