Stand by Me

Greatest No 1 Singles, Ben E. King

About Stand by Me

"Stand by Me" is a song originally performed in 1961 by American singer-songwriter Ben E. King and written by King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller. According to King, the title is derived from, and was inspired by, a spiritual written by Sam Cooke and J. W. Alexander called "Stand by Me Father," recorded by the Soul Stirrers with Johnnie Taylor singing lead. The third line of the second verse of the former work derives from Psalm 46:2c/3c. There have been over 400 recorded versions of the song, performed by many artists. It was featured on the soundtrack of the 1986 film Stand by Me, and a corresponding music video, featuring King along with actors River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton, was released to promote the film. In 2012 it was estimated that the song's royalties had topped $22.8 million (£17 million), making it the sixth highest-earning song as of its era. 50% of the royalties were paid to King. 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. 


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

So darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains 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 darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh, stand now by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

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

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Ben E. King

Benjamin Earl King (born September 28, 1938), better known as Ben E. King, is an American soul singer. He is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of "Stand by Me," a U.S. Top 10 hit in both 1961 and 1986 and a #1 hit in the UK in 1987, and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters. more »

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Written by: Ben King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

5 facts about this song

4 the Cause version
"Stand By Me" was performed by the American band 4 The Cause who are actually family members. The group was only active from 1998 to 1999 but their version of "Stand By Me" reached the top of several charts in different countries. - Their version of the song was used as the theme song for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
Ben E. King version
This is the original rendition of the song, released in 1961. - Despite being one of his biggest hits, Ben E. King initially wrote "Stand by Me" for his group The Drifters, who declined it. He then decided to record it himself. - The song was ranked 122nd on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all-time. - The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its original release, however it later reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart in 1987, following its use in a Levi's advertisement.
John Lennon version
John Lennon, known as a member of the Beatles, covered "Stand By Me" in 1975. - His version appeared on his album “Rock 'n' Roll,” which was composed mainly of covers of rock and roll songs from the 1950s and 60s. - Lennon's version of "Stand By Me" was a top 20 hit in both the US and UK.
Playing for Change version
Playing for Change made a unique rendition of "Stand By Me" as part of their “Songs Around The World” project in 2009. - The project was created to inspire and connect the world through music, with musicians from different parts of the world contributing to the same song. - The "Stand By Me" version by Playing for Change features 37 musicians from six continents who had never met in person, but were brought together through their renditions of the song.
The Drifters
Although "Stand By Me" was initially intended for The Drifters by Ben E. King, they didn't record the song. - The Drifters was a revolving door of talent throughout their career; Ben E. King himself was a former member of The Drifters, having left in 1960. - Despite not recording "Stand By Me", The Drifters' style of rhythm and blues heavily influenced the music of the 1960s, lending towards the eventual interpretation of the song by Ben E. King.

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    Top Hot 100 Songs 1961

    Billboard #4



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