Sunday, May 03, 2015
Ben E. King: Stand By Me
Sometimes the obvious choice is the right one. Ben. E. King, who composed (with Leiber and Stoller) and sang Stand By Me died this week.
Today the song is seen as an outright classic, but when it was first released in 1961 it got no higher than 27 in the UK singles chart.
It reached no. 1 in 1987 when it was re-released after being used in a Levi jeans television commercial.
This is not the only case of that brand rewriting musical history.
In 1973 Johnnie Walker (then by far the coolest of the daytime Radio One DJs) played The Joker by the Steve Miller Band for months in an unsuccessful attempt to make it a hit in Britain. But it reached no. 1 after it was used in another Levi commercial.
Back to Ben E. King... Since you ask, the E stood for Earl.