2. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
- #4 for 2 Weeks in 1961 (June)
- Best higher charting song: Travelin' Man - Ricky Nelson
- Worst higher charting song: Moody River - Pat Boone
- Top 100 #4 Hits 1955-2003 Rank: #13
While Lennon-McCartney and Holland-Dozier-Holland (and these days Max Martin-Dr. Luke or Shellback), suck up a lot of the songwriting air in the sixties, it pays to go back and look at the work of Lieber and Stoller. These two men, along with the Everlys and Roy Orbison, formed much of the canon that made up first generation rock and roll. But Stand by Me will always be their coup de grace. Simple and produced precisely, King's vocals are sad without bieng mournful and committed without being empathic. You believe him and his call to be stood by seems so small, but the pleading is real and the song is playing out on all the background. This is why John Lennon, Mickey Gilley, Spyder Turner and even Sean Kingston (in his way) were able to bring this song back to the top 40 and even the very version reached #9 on the heels of the movie in 1987. Deep wells of meaning and legs that go one for miles. The question is: Should be the #1? John debated that this and #1 should be swapped. What's your thought?
Coming up: #1 - "Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea"