“Stand By Me”
Written by Ben E. King, Jerome Leiber, and Michael Stoller
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
July 25 – August 1, 1980
#1 (1 week)
August 9, 1980
After “True Love Ways” became Mickey Gilley’s first No. 1 hit in three years, another cover of a hit from the early rock era became his second consecutive No. 1 single.
Featured on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, Gilley’s take on “Stand By Me” has been one of his most enduring records. Part of the reason is because it’s simply a great song. Ben E. King’s original version is one of the best recordings of all time, and it had already been covered successfully by Otis Redding and John Lennon.
Gilley’s version was particularly successful because of how much he made it his own. He tweaks the lyrics in the chorus and his phrasing is completely original. The pace is slowed down significantly and the bass line that defined the original recording is no longer prominent. It’s a truly creative take on a very familiar recording.
There are bigger Urban Cowboy hits on the way, and the high profile success of the soundtrack is one of the reasons that we’ll be seeing so much more of Mickey Gilley in the next couple of years.
“Stand By Me” gets a B+.
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