There are very few songs that no matter how many times we have listened to, still bring that fresh aura of having listened to them for the first time. They are songs so powerful not only for their beat but because their lyrics touch our lives in many ways. These songs are as great today as the day they were played for the first time. The song “Stand by me,” was originally sung by Ben E. King. Back when the song was released, it was able to cross several boundaries that were very strong at the time, like race and color. Those were tough times for many people. The color of your skin would decide the type of treatment you would receive and the type of food you were eligible for.
Ben E. King could remind an entire generation of the importance of friendships and helping each other. For many families who were suffering at the time, this song became an anthem to be sung at gatherings. Many people made references to the Bible and quoted a few verses that spoke loudly to the same topics as the song did. Many people have done covers of this wonderful song, including famous and non-famous people. But what is it about this song that attracts so many people to do a cover of it? Is it the same reasons as it did back in 1962? The song talks about much more than being friends. It talks about brotherhood, about sticking together through thick and thin. It is the type of relationship when your friend doesn’t even need to call you when in trouble because you are already there.
This type of brotherhood that is not only in Hollywood movies, is the thing this song is about. Now, coming up with a rendition that is both believable and enjoyable is not something that can be easily done. I have heard a lot of covers for this song, and although many of the singers are talented enough, they just don’t sound as powerful as Ben did.
There is, however, one artist that can take you back to 1962 with her beautiful voice. Listening to Tracy Chapman deliver this song is like listening to it for the first time. Get a pair of headphones, sit back and listen to this powerful rendition. Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard this song for the first time? After Ben’s version, this is now my all-time favorite. What do you think?