6 Iconic Times Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" Was Used In Television & Film, Because This Song Truly Is A Classic
As previously reported Friday, legendary singer-songwriter Ben E. King passed away at the age of 76. And, even if you've never heard of the '50s musician before now, chances are you've heard of King's hit single "Stand By Me," which is just major indication of the legacy he leaves behind. The song, which was released in 1961, exists not only as a staple at wedding (along with Etta James "At Last" and The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling") but also as a highly covered song. In fact there's over 400 known recordings of the track, including a renowned version by John Lennon. But more than anywhere else, "Stand By Me" has been used in iconic moments in television and film.
Some of these moments are obscure and long forgotten (how many commercials from the '80s do you remember? Exactly), while other appearances are utterly expected (usually if a movie is named for a song, it's going to end up in the film) — and some appearances just heighten the appeal of your favorite beloved Disney characters. No matter what the circumstance, the tune serves as the perfect soundtrack addition, and is constantly being reworked to set a specific mood.
So in honor of King's passing, I've scoured the Internet and unearthed a few of the television shows and films you may have heard "Stand By Me" before.
As a cover by The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa:
Truth be told, everything else pales in comparison to this. If you remember the gone-too-soon Disney Channel series The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, you may have caught this sweet serenade. Personally, I think Pumbaa's a national treasure and I'll never reject a singing Nathan Lane, but what truly makes this special is the sheer amount of destruction that befalls the warthog.
As the backdrop in a Levi's 501 commercial:
What better way to utilize a timeless classic than to use it to sell denim? This Levi's commercial ran in 1988 and tapped into hardcore 1950s nostalgia.
In an episode of The Following:
This cover by Ki:Theory brought a dark, gloomy layer to the love song. Think a slightly more modern and warble-y Depeche Mode vibe.
As the titular theme song to the film Stand By Me:
It's based on a Stephen King novella, and it's a charming coming-of-age movie (starring the likes of Corey Feldman and River Phoenix) in which a group of boys stumble upon a dead body. See: Stephen King novella.
As a choice song in every talent competition ever:
It's been seen on American Idol, but here it's done by X Factor contestant Carlito Olivero and Prince Royce. True story, Royce's cover was one of Ben E. King's favorite takes on the classic, with King telling Spinner U.K. that he though Royce's cover was "brilliant."
As a country ballad in Urban Cowboy:
It's not a John Travolta movie unless there's some dance moves, and in Urban Cowboy, this Mickey Gilley cover of "Stand By Me" compliments this weirdly distracted slow-dancing.