The 1980s Rob Reiner film Stand By Me–based on the Stephen King novella “The Body” and published in the collection Different Seasons–is in my Top Five favorite movies of all time. The film ends with the Ben E. King song of the same name, you’ll recall.
I’ve always loved that song. Deeply. (I don’t buy into the whole idea of “guilty pleasures”; yes, I love me some punk and metal, but a Counting Crows song can reduce me to tears and I’ve gone to Tom Petty concerts.) When I took a history of rock ‘n’ roll course in college–don’t laugh; it was a liberal arts college–they used “Stand By Me” as an example of the initial loss of edge to rock that occurred in the late fifties, after Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died, after Elvis went into the army. They argued that “Stand By Me” was closer to the crooners of the 1940s than real rock. I remember thinking, So what? It’s still a helluva song.
Chapman above takes that song and…damn. I always hated the John Lennon cover (honestly, his post-Beatles work was complete shit, guys; make fun of Wings all you want, but you could at least groove to that ear candy) and thought the song couldn’t be covered. Ben E. King was too plaintive and authentic to be mimed.
Well, oh well. I was wrong. For my money, Chapman above gives even more emotion than Ben E. King did (always why I included the Letterman performance instead of the track cut).
(The last two posts on here were not all that positive; I needed something to perk me up. Next week, what I’d like to see in the slush pile during the final month of my guest-editing gig at LampLight.)