500 Greatest Songs of All Time

122

Ben E. King, 'Stand By Me'

Writers: King, Elmo Glick, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
Producers: Leiber, Stoller
Released: April '61, Atco
14 weeks; No. 4

Ben E. King wrote "Stand By Me" when he was still the lead singer of the Drifters — but the group didn't want it. As King recalled, the Drifters' manager told him, "Not a bad song, but we don't need it." But after King went solo, he revived "Stand By Me" at the end of a session with Leiber. "I showed him the song," King said. "Did it on piano a little bit, he called the musicians back into the studio, and we went ahead and recorded it." "Stand By Me" has been a pop-soul standard ever since, covered by everyone from John Lennon to Green Day.

Appears on: The Very Best of Ben E. King (Rhino)

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