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Ben E. King has died

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Ben E. King passed away yesterday (April 30) at age 76. He didn't write many songs, but one that he did is simply a treasure.

King wrote "Stand By Me" after leaving The Drifters and starting a solo career. The Drifters had first crack at the song, but their manager turned it down. King worked on the song with the Leiber & Stoller team, who polished it into a gem. Steeped in gospel, "Stand By Me" is one of those songs that says so much in so few words. It's heartfelt, spiritual, and timeless.

First released in 1960, the song resurfaced in 1986 when it was used as the title tune to the movie directed by Rob Reiner. The film is based on a Stephen King short story called The Body, but when Reiner heard the song playing one day, he knew it should be incorporated into the adaptation and used for the title.

The song had popped up all over the place - Sean Kingston sampled it into the massive hit "Beautiful Girls"; Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) recorded it. Even John Lennon covered the song.

Songs like this are the reason Songfacts exists, and we are ever thankful to Ben E. King.

"Stand By Me" Songfacts

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