Written by: King-Leiber-Stoller
Recorded: 21-25 October 1974
Producer: John Lennon
John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar
Jesse Ed Davis, Peter Jameson: electric guitar
Eddie Mottau: acoustic guitar
Ken Ascher: piano
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Joseph Temperley, Frank Vicari: saxophone
Dennis Morouse: tenor saxophone
Jim Keltner: drums
Arthur Jenkins: percussion
The only single to be issued from John Lennon’s 1975 album Rock ‘N’ Roll, ‘Stand By Me’ was a cover version of Ben E King’s 1961 classic.
When the song was taped during the Rock ‘N’ Roll sessions, it wasn’t the first time Lennon had performed it in the studio. The Beatles had played it during the Let It Be recording sessions in January 1969, one of many golden oldies performed at the time.
Three versions of ‘Stand By Me’ were played in Los Angeles’ Record Plant West during the March 1974 recording later bootlegged as A Toot And A Snore In ’74. The uninspired jam featuring Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Jesse Ed Davis, Bobby Keys, and Harry Nilsson.
Lennon finally managed to record a successful version in October 1974, during the final sessions for Rock ‘N’ Roll. Using the core of musicians that appeared on Walls And Bridges earlier that year, he delivered a sharply focused reading of the song.
‘Stand By Me’ was remixed when it was issued as a single, with an added string overdub. It was released on 10 March 1975 in the US, where it became a top 20 hit, but fared less well in the UK after its release on 18 April.
The single was Lennon’s final hit before his five-year retreat from the music industry. ‘Stand By Me’ featured a non-album track, ‘Move Over Ms L’, as its b-side.