Ben E. King

Stand by Me

Song Review by

"Stand By Me" sounds like it wasn't written, that it just always existed -- it wasn't heard until Ben E. King released it as a single in the spring of 1961. Of course, that isn't the case. King wrote the song with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and it was released as the follow-up to "Spanish Harlem," King's first big hit since leaving the Drifters. It had the same elegance as "Spanish Harlem," but there was a big difference. It was slower, statelier, anchored by one of the most memorable non-blues walking bass lines in history and King's warm, refined delivery. His performance is surrounded by a superb, subtle arrangement, where the majestic orchestra doesn't sweep in until the bridge where it cleverly disguises a key change. Best of all, "Stand By Me" played like a love song, but it wasn't. It was a testament to friendship, one of the best of its kind in pop history. Perhaps that's why it was also one of the most endearing songs of the rock era. King's peerless original was never matched and it won the hearts of many generations of listeners; in 1986 it served as the theme song to Rob Reiner's film of the same name and it went into the Top Ten again, spending more weeks on the charts this time around than it did originally, to boot. That doesn't mean that it was an impossible song to cover -- far from it, in fact. It speaks to such universal truths that it can sound good coming from just about anybody. And it does, as Mickey Gilley's 1981 reworking proves. He really doesn't depart that much from the core of the song -- he doesn't need to, it's so strong -- but in his hands, it sounds just as moving as Ben E. King's. Which is a testament not only to his performance, but the timeless creation King wrote with Leiber and Stoller.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Don't Play That Song! 1962 Hallmark 3:00
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 9 [Original Sound 1] 1973
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:56
No Image 1975 Atlantic
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:58
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4 (1958-1962) 1985
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:50
Stand by Me 1986
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic 2:55
Back to the '60s: Soul 1988
Various Artists
Dominion 3:00
The Wanderers [Warner Brothers] 1989
Original Soundtrack
Warner Bros. 2:59
Billboard Top R&B Hits: 1961 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Atlantic Soul Classics [1985] 1990
Various Artists
Warner Music / Rhino 3:01
Golden Years: 1961 1990
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:00
There's a Riot Goin' On! The Rock 'N' Roll Classics of Lieber and Stoller 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Rhythm & Blues: 1961 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Best of Ben E. King [Curb] 1993 Curb 3:48
Anthology 1993 Rhino 2:20
Ben E. King Anthology 1993 Atlantic / Rhino 3:04
No Image 1993 Ausverkauf
Heartbreakers, Vol. 3: True Love 1993
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 3:03
Now: 1987 [40 Tracks] 1993
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI
Slow Jams: The '60s, Vol. 2 1993
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 2:57
When a Man Loco Por La 1993
Various Artists
2:59
Super Box of Rock, Vol. 2 [Box Set] 1993
Various Artists
Dominion 3:03
The Fabulous 60's 1993
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution
Ocean Drive, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:58
The Best of Ben E. King & the Drifters [K-Tel] 1994 Dominion 3:03
Blues & Soul 1995
Various Artists
Griffin 2:55
Brothers in Blues & Sisters in Soul 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:03
Best Sixties Album in the World Ever 1995
Various Artists
2:59
Love Ballads [Connoisseur Collection] 1995
Various Artists
2:57
Party Rock: Gold for the Road 1996
Various Artists
Compose Records / Peter Pan (ISP) 3:02
16 Unforgettable Slows 1996
Various Artists
EPM 3:02
Soul Classics, Vol. 1 [Intercontinental] 1996
Various Artists
ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 3:17
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 0:00
Eighteen Soulful Ballads 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 2:58
Only Rock 'N Roll 1960-1964: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 3:00
Leading Men, Vol. 3: Masters of Style 1996
Various Artists
Polygram
For You With Love 1996
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 2:57
Rockin' & Driftin': The Drifters Box 1996 Rhino 0:00
Smooth Grooves: The '60s, Vol. 1: Early '60s 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Wedding Album [Double Gold] 1997
Various Artists
Double Gold 2:59
Sixties Generation: 1961 1997
Various Artists
Retro Music 3:16
Rockfile, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Rockfile 2:55
20th Century Rocks, Vol. 10: '60s Soul - Tell It Like It Is 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:00
Vintage Soul Classics 1997
Various Artists
Beacon Records (Rock) / Beacon Records 2:57
Party Gold 1997
Various Artists
Compose Records 3:01
Stand By Me [Prime Cuts] 1997 St. Clair / Prime Cuts 3:21
Soul Legends [Rhino] 1997
Various Artists
Rhino Flashback 2:57
3 for 3: Ben E. King, Percy Sledge & Brook Benton 1997 St. Clair / 3 for 3 3:12
Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 61 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:01
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Relativity 2:58
Soulful 60's 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:01
Global Rock, Vol. 6: From London to L.A. 1997
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
Whole Lotta Rock: 1960-1961 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:02
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1960-1969 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 5:39
Rockin' Jukebox, 1961 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 3:03
The Number Ones: Hot in the 60's 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 2:55
The Very Best of Ben E. King 1998 Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 3:04
Atlantic Records 50 Years: The Gold Anniversary 1998
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:55
100 Jukebox Hits: 50's & 60's 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:00
The Ultimate History of Rock & Roll Collection, Vol. 8: Soul Explosion 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:00
Family Friendship Classics 1998
Various Artists
Kid Rhino / Rhino 3:00
60's Greatest Rock & Roll Hits 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:01
Spanish Harlem/Don't Play That Song 1998 Collectables 2:51
Hollywood Collection [Entertainers] 1998
Various Artists
Entertainers 3:00
Heart Beats [3 Pack] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
Soul to Soul [Boxsets] 1998 St. Clair / Boxsets 3:16
20 Sweet Soul Classics 1998
Various Artists
Double Play Records 3:04
Rock 'N' Roll Reunion 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 3:01
Kuschelrock, Vol. 1 1999 Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Smooth Soul Classics [Platinum Disc] 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:57
Sixties Generation 1999
Various Artists
St. Clair / Boxsets 3:16
Oldies Radio: K-Earth 101FM Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Sweet Soul Music [Dressed to Kill] 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 3:01
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal International 3:00
The Sixties Collection 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:57
Hits of the 60's, Vol. 5 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 2:58
Cocodrilo Club 2000
Various Artists
Tempo 2:55
Back to Back 2000 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 0:00
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 7-9 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:58
Soul Ballads [Boxsets] 2000
Various Artists
Boxsets 3:18
Sixties Shakin' All Over 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 2:58
Classic Soul Crate 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:59
Golden Legends 2000 Direct Source 3:12
Sixties Generation: A Decade of Change, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:16
Groovy Hits of the Sixties 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:15
The 60's [K-Tel] 2000
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 2:58
Soul Greats 2000
Various Artists
Goldies 2:58
Forever Gold: Soul Ballads [2 Disc] 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:18
Rock N' Roll 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 3:01
Eleven Best 2001 Golden Music 3:17
Greatest Number 1's Ever 2001 EMI Music Distribution 2:59
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 3:00
Instant Party: Whole Lotta Soul 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Newman's Own: Movie Songs 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Love Lights 2001
Various Artists
WEA 2:54
Mega Soul 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:58
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: Great Soul Ballads 2001
Various Artists
Goldies 2:59
Music of the Millenium 2001
Various Artists
Umusic 2:53
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 5: The Sixties 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:00
Mega Cinema 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:55
23 Essential Soul Masters & Ballads 2001
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:17
The Songmaker's Collection: Music from the Brill Building 2001
Various Artists
Q Records 2:54
Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop, Vol. 1: The Greatest Songs from Early Rock 'n' Roll 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
Three Decades of Soul 2001
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:00
Singing in My Heart: Songs of Love and Friendship 2002
Various Artists
Music for Little People / Rhino 3:00
Stand By Me [Delta] 2002 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 3:20
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
The Love Album: Classics 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:55
The Number 1 Soul Collection 2002
Various Artists
Dominion Entertainment / K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 2:54
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Another Helping of Love & Inspiration 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Rock N' Roll Hits: Golden 1961 2002
Various Artists
Madacy 3:00
Blues & Soul Masters 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 2:59
Greatest Hits 2002 Prestige Elite Records 3:02
James Brown & Friends 2002 Laserlight 2:58
Soul: Angel of the Morning 2002 Past & Present Records 2:58
Back to Back: Ben E. King & Percy Sledge 2002 Dominion Entertainment / K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 2:56
What the World Needs Now Is...: The Ultimate Love Collection 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:55
Gold Collection: R&B Favorites 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:15
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Realm Records 2:59
Gold Funk and Soul 2003
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:17
Great Soul Voices 2003
Various Artists
Prestige Elite Records 3:02
The Drifters and Ben E. King Meet the Coasters 2003 Goldies 3:00
Twogether Soul 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:56
60s Rock n' Roll 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:15
21 Winners: Jukebox Hits of the '60s [2003] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
All the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:59
Classic Country #1 Love Songs 2003
Various Artists
Compendia Music Group / Intersound 3:35
The Incredible Soul Collection 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 2:58
#1 R&B Hits [Madacy Box] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:15
Ultimate Soul [Madacy] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:57
Memories 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:59
The Songs That Made Them Famous [K-Tel] [16 Tracks] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:53
Respect: The Soul Generation Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:59
Shadows of Soul 2003
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:16
More Ultimate Power of Love 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:56
20 Rockin' Hits of the 60's [Disc 1] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Time 100: Music of Our Lives 1960-1980 2004
Various Artists
WEA International 2:55
Beg, Scream & Shout!: Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
Atco / Rhino 2:58
Happy Days of the 60s [2-CD] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:12
1960's Happy Days [2004] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:14
20 Best Hits of the 60s 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Ocean Boulevard 2004
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:57
Ultimate Love [Madacy] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:56
Soul Grooves [Columbia River] 2004
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 3:14
100 Rockin' Hits of the 60's 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Golden Era of the 60's [Bonus DVD] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:14
Ocean Boulevard, Vol. 1: The Warner-Atlantic-Atco Masters 2005
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:57
The 60's Pop Classics [Legacy] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 2:58
Great Songs from TV Commercials 2005
Various Artists
Goldies 3:01
Late Night Love: I Wanna Wake Up With You 2005
Various Artists
Prism Platinum 2:58
1960's Happy Days [2005 #2] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:16
Pure 60's Soul 2005
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:14
Soul Smooching: 36 Late Night Classics 2005
Various Artists
Prism Entertainment 2:58
Stand by Me: The Platinum Collection 2005 Warner Elektra Atlantic Corp. 2:56
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Soul 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:57
Top 20 of Soul 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:03
Always and Forever [K-Tel] 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:03
Golden Legends: Soul Legends 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Express Yourself: Soul In The 20th Century 2006
Various Artists
Universal / Um3 2:59
People Get Ready: 24 Soul Legends 2006
Various Artists
Wonderful Music 2:59
That's Soul [Golden Stars] 2006
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:59
R&B Chart-Toppers: #1 Soul Hits of the 80's 2006
Various Artists
Sterling 2:58
Daddy Cool [Universal] 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 2:56
Hits of the 60s [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Ground Floor 3:14
Casey Kasem: Driving in the 60s 2006
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:56
R35: Rock & Pops Super Hits 2006
Various Artists
WEA 2:54
This Is R&B [Cleopatra] 2006
Various Artists
Cleopatra / Goldenlane 3:14
The Best of R&B [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:14
80s Movie Hits 2006
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:29
Best of the 80's: The Ultimate Collection 2006
Various Artists
MCI 3:14
Platinum Collection: Stand by Me/Dance with Me 2006 Warner Elektra Atlantic Corp. / Rhino 0:00
13 R&B #1 Hits, Vol. 3 2006
Various Artists
United Multi License 3:13
Forever Soul R&B 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Rhino Hi-Five: Ben E. King 2006 Atlantic / Rhino 3:04
From the Heart: Classics 2007
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:55
Love [Warner] 2007
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / Warner Music 2:58
Los Grandes del Soul 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 2:54
Spirit of Soul [Spirit Of] 2007
Various Artists
Spirit Of (UK) 2:58
Prime 17: The Greatest Love Songs of All Time 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:00
James Brown Presents a Soulful Christmas 2007
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:15
Hollywood: Trilogy 2007
Various Artists
Music Brokers / PMB 2:58
Atlantic 60th: Satin Grooves - The '60s 2007
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino 3:04
Sweet Soul Music: 1961 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:59
The Hits Reloaded 2008
Various Artists
Hipnotic Records / Cleopatra 4:01
Reflections 2008 5:00
Forever Friends: Thank You Mum 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:15
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 3:03
100 Essential Tracks: No. 1 Hits 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:57
Ultimate 80's Movie Hits 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:54
100 Hits: Mum 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:55
Love Songs: The Ultimate Collection 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:54
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 2:57
La Plus Grande Soirée Mixée 2011 2011
Various Artists
Wagram 2:52
100 Tubes Rentrée 2011 2011
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:55
Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From the Iconic Atlantic Label 2012
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Bros. 2:55
Soul: The Collection 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Salut Les Copains 1959-1968: Best of 2013
Various Artists
UMSM / Universal Music 2:56
Amazing Early 60s Box: 88 Hard-to-Find Hits 2013
Various Artists
Complete 60s 2:55
Love Songs: The Collection 2015
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:54
The Very Best of Percy Sledge & Ben E. King 2015 Rhino 2:54
The Complete Atco/Atlantic Singles, Vol. 1: 1960-1966 2015 Real Gone Music 2:57
The Best Ever Sixties 2015
Various Artists
Rhino
An Introduction to Ben E King 2017 Rhino / Rhino Flashback 2:58
'60s: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:03
100 Greatest Breakfast Songs
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
100 Greatest Love Songs
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image
Various Artists
Rhino
100 Tubes Pour Danser
Various Artists
Wagram Music 2:54
3/60: Soul Classics
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:55
American Classics [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
Amor: 60 Romantic Songs
Various Artists
Puzzled Records / Zebralution 3:01
No Image Rhino
No Image Dominion 3:03
Car-aoke: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 3:03
Classic Love Songs [Excalibur]
Various Artists
Excalibur
Decade of Hits: The 60's
Various Artists
Dynamic / Dynamic Nostalgia 0:00
Early R & B Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Cherished Records
Global Rock, Vol. 4-6: From London to L.A.
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
Greatest Movie Songs
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:04
Happy Mother's Day
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Introducing...Soul
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music / WSM 3:03
It All Started with Doo Wop
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:01
Kiss Me
Various Artists
Rhino
Legendary Voices
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 2:58
Mother's Day
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
Mum: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
Pin-Up Hits Collection
Various Artists
Puzzled Records / Zebralution 3:01
Rock 'n' Roll Jukebox: Hits from the '50s & '60s
Various Artists
Somerset Entertainment 2:56
Rockin' The Diner
Various Artists
Platinum Legends / Universal 3:00
Romancing the '60s: My Special Angel
Various Artists
StarVista 3:00
Romantic Moods [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
Romantic Songs [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
SingALong
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
Sixties [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:03
Soul of the '60s
Various Artists
Time Life 2:58
Stand by Me [Drive]
Various Artists
Drive (import) 2:51
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:54
This Is Soul [Object]
Various Artists
Object
Top Hits/60's Only Number 1's
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:04
Top Hits/Ballads & Love Songs 60's & 70's
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / Warner Music 2:58