Ben E. King recorded “Spanish Harlem” in a session held in New York City on this date in 1960, and when he and his producers noticed that they still had time booked in the studio for the day, they asked him if he had anything else.
Indeed. He had part of a song, so he and the producers Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller finished writing it, and then he recorded it: “Stand By Me.”
In 2012, Mike Stoller recounted the moment for JazzWax online:
Ben E. had the beginnings of a song—both words and music. He worked on the lyrics together with Jerry, and I added elements to the music, particularly the bass line. To some degree, it’s based on a gospel song called Lord Stand By Me. I have a feeling that Jerry and Ben E. were inspired by it. Ben, of course, had a strong background in church music. He’s a 50% writer on the song, and Jerry and I are 25% each.
The song, as released in 1961 (after the jump):
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Lou Reed died three years ago today.
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President Theodore Roosevelt was born on this date in 1858. Emily Post was born on this date in 1872. Dylan Thomas was born on this date in 1914. Sylvia Plath was born on this date in 1932. The late Scott Weiland was born on this date in 1967. (He died last December 3.)
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Nanette Fabray is 96 today. “That’s Entertainment,” introduced by Jack Buchanan, Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, and Nanette Fabray:
Representative Maurice Hinchey is 78. John Cleese is 77 today. He has a new YouTube channel:
Maxine Hong Kingston is 76. Terry A. Anderson, a reporter who became a story when he was held captive for six years and nine months in Beirut, is 69 today. Fran Lebowitz is 66. Roberto Benigni is 64. Robert Picardo is 63. Simon Le Bon is 58.
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