Ben was a singer and songwriter for a band called The Drifters. After falling out with management over his salary, Ben was barred from performing with his group. So he begrudgingly left in search of solo opportunities.
He auditioned for two producers with a variety of songs intended for his album. With a few minutes to spare before his session ended, the producers asked Ben if he had anything else that he wanted to sing?
Just then, Ben recalled lyrics to a song he'd heard in church. In fact, he originally tried to persuade The Drifters to record the song, but they were uninterested. So he began humming his rendition for the producers, while snapping his fingers and tapping his feet to the beat.
One producer caught the inspiration and began weaving a thick bass line into the beginning of the chorus...
DOO-doo ---- doo-doo-DOO-doo...
And in came Ben with the vocals:
"When the night, has come...
"And the land is dark..."
Together, in the final minutes of the recording session, the three of them unknowingly arranged and produced an instant classic, named for the old church song that inspired it: "Stand by Me."
Not only did Stand by Me become the biggest hit of Ben E. King's career, it's listed as number 121 of the top 500 greatest songs of all time, as well as the fourth most performed song of the 20th century!
How amazing that a song which was recorded almost as an afterthought became one of the most inspiring, uplifting, and covered songs of all time!
May Ben E. King's Stand by Me continue to inspire us to tap into the ideas and stories that make our hearts sing too.