500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Ben E. King, 'Stand By Me'

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)


The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: The Drifters

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