Stand By Me

Stand By Me single - John LennonWritten by: King-Leiber-Stoller
Recorded: 21-25 October 1974
Producer: John Lennon

Released: 21 February 1975 (UK), 17 February 1975 (US)

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

Available on:
Rock 'N' Roll
Power To The People - The Hits

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.

Stand By Me - Rock 'n' Roll (Remastered)

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 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.

John Lennon performed Stand By Me, along with Slippin' And Slidin' and Imagine, on 18 April 1975 for the Salute To Lew Grade television show. It was his last scheduled public performance.

11 responses on “Stand By Me

  1. Collin

    Hey Joe! I just want to tell you that this site is great. You have done a wonderful job on this site. I thank you so much for this wonderful gift you have given to us all!

    This song is great! I personally like it better than the original. There’s a good vocal track on this one. Real good song!

  2. Declan Lewis

    Yes, John’s vocal performance is indeed spinetingingly inspirational. And what a fantastic slide guitar solo by Jesse Ed Davis on this very fine cover of Stand By Me. Excellent site, I agree, for all Beatles fans who visit; this is my first browse here, but I’ll return and shall be spreading the word. Peace, Love and Light.

  3. Kedame

    I swear whenever I hear Paul’s “When the Night” I think it is John’s version or “Stand by Me.” Their vocal performances are so similar in both.

    1. Ceri James

      He just double tracked the vocal – lots of reverb and maybe a bit of distortion – he used to double track his vocals alot – he didn’t like his own voice much – but personally I think this a fantastic vocal performance its up there with the best for me – I mean like Aretha, Dusty and Elvis just my personal opinion

  4. Graham Paterson

    John Lennons version was way better than the original. His great singing and rhythm guitar work transform this song. It of course took on added significance after his tragic murder.

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