G.O.A.T.: STAND BY ME by Ben E. King (1961)

THE biggest OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a series of posts, creating my 100 preferred tunes of all time.  The master listing is here, as well as I update it about every two weeks or when I have one more 10 tunes or so.

The tune so powerful, it influenced a movie title.  The tune so powerful, it influenced a movie title.  King composed the tune for his band The Drifters, however chose to record it as a solo act when producers Jerry Leiber as well as Mike Stoller started working with him.  Those two definitely understood the odor of a hit.  There are differing stories of its origins, however the typical legend is that King heard the spirit Stirrers’ “Stand by Me Father” as well as was influenced to compose his own gospel-influenced pop song.  The tune was  a#1 hit in two different decades—once in 1961 as well as then once again in 1986, when the Rob Reiner movie came out.  part of the reason you understand this is one of the biggest Of All Tunes is exactly how flexible it is.  There have been cover versions of the tune that really charted (many at #1 or in the top 10) in all genres: traditional rock (John Lennon), country (Mickey Gilley), conventional soul/R&B covers (Otis Redding), oldies rock (The Searchers), bachata (Prince Royce), as well as even Oriental as well as European pop (George Lam as well as Anita Mui, 4 The Cause).

As a member of the Drifters, King had rather a few R&B hits—but the band’s manager was type of a dick as well as King split with the band in 1960—just as he was composing this mega-hit.  He was replaced by Charlie Thomas, who would lip sync over King’s voice on TV appearances.   King had a lot of hits, however none have been as indelible as this one.

Further listening: With the Drifters: There Goes My Baby, This Magic Moment, save the Last dance for Me.  Solo: Spanish Harlem, right here Comes the Night, into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover).

Covers: There are actually hundreds, so it was difficult to narrow it down…I tried to offer examples of the variety of the tune across decades as well as genres.  If you understand of a fantastic one I missed, decrease me a comment!

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