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[–] COFfeebreak 0 points (+0|-0)

According to King, the title is derived and was inspired by a spiritual composition by Sam Cooke called "Stand by Me Father" (although co-writer Mike Stoller has stated differently). According to the documentary History of Rock 'n' Roll, Ben E. King had no intention of recording the song himself. King had written it for the Drifters, who passed on recording it. After the "Spanish Harlem" recording session, he had some studio time left over. The session's producers, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, asked if he had any more songs. King played it on the piano for them. They liked it and called the studio musicians back in to record it. Stoller recalls it differently:

"I remember arriving at our office as Jerry and Ben were working on lyrics for a new song. King had the beginnings of a melody that he was singing a cappella. I went to the piano and worked up the harmonies, developing a bass pattern that became the signature of the song. Ben and Jerry quickly finished the lyrics ..." .

In another interview, Stoller said:

"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.... When I walked in, Jerry and Ben E. were working on the lyrics to a song. They were at an old oak desk we had in the office. Jerry was sitting behind it, and Benny was sitting on the top. They looked up and said they were writing a song. I said, "Let me hear it."... Ben began to sing the song a cappella. I went over to the upright piano and found the chord changes behind the melody he was singing. It was in the key of A. Then I created a bass line. Jerry said, "Man that's it!" We used my bass pattern for a starting point and, later, we used it as the basis for the string arrangement created by Stanley Applebaum."

The third line of the second verse of "Stand by Me" derives from Psalms 46:2 ("Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea"). In 2015, King's original version was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant",