Ben E. King - Stand By Me - 1961

Introduction to "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King (1961)

Ben E. King's "Stand By Me", released in 1961, is an enduring classic that has captivated audiences for decades. This song not only showcases King's soulful voice but also reflects the themes of loyalty and support. In this aiMOOC, you'll explore various aspects of "Stand By Me," including its historical context, musical structure, lyrics, and impact on music and culture.

Background of "Stand By Me"

  1. Ben E. King: Learn about the artist behind the song.
  2. 1960s Music: Understand the musical era during which "Stand By Me" was released.
  3. Soul Music: Discover the genre of the song.

Musical Analysis

  1. Song Structure: Analyze the composition and structure of "Stand By Me."
  2. Lyrics Analysis: Dive into the meaning behind the lyrics.
  3. Vocal Techniques: Explore Ben E. King's vocal style in the song.

Cultural Impact

  1. Music History: Examine the song's place in music history.
  2. Cover Versions: Discover various artists' interpretations of "Stand By Me."
  3. Songs of the Civil Rights Movement: Learn about the song's relevance to social movements.

Quiz: Questions on the Song

What year was "Stand By Me" released? (1961) (!1959) (!1963) (!1965)

Which genre does "Stand By Me" primarily belong to? (Soul) (!Rock) (!Jazz) (!R&B)

Who originally recorded "Stand By Me"? (Ben E. King) (!Otis Redding) (!Sam Cooke) (!Marvin Gaye)

What is a distinctive feature of "Stand By Me"'s musical composition? (A strong bass line) (!A fast-paced drum beat) (!Heavy guitar solos) (!Orchestral backing)

"Stand By Me" was inspired by a spiritual song titled: ("Lord Stand By Me") (!"Amazing Grace") (!"Lean on Me") (!"Oh Happy Day")

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Ben E. King was also famous for being a part of which group? (The Drifters) (!The Temptations) (!The Four Tops) (!The Platters)

Before his solo career, what was Ben E. King's role in The Drifters? (Lead vocalist) (!Drummer) (!Guitarist) (!Keyboardist)

Which of the following songs is another hit by Ben E. King? ("Spanish Harlem") (!"My Girl") (!"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay") (!"Unchained Melody")

Ben E. King's real name is: (Benjamin Earl Nelson) (!Benjamin Edward King) (!Benjamin Arthur King) (!Benjamin Franklin King)

In which year was Ben E. King inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? (1988) (!1990) (!1992) (!1995)

Quiz: Questions on the Lyrics

Which phrase opens the song "Stand By Me"? ("When the night has come") (!"As the day fades away") (!"Under the moonlight") (!"In the still of the night")

The lyrics "I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me" convey a theme of: (Companionship and support) (!Loneliness and despair) (!Independence and strength) (!Uncertainty and fear)

"Stand By Me" contains the lyrics "If the sky that we look upon, should tumble and fall". This line signifies: (Overcoming challenges together) (!Enjoying nature's beauty) (!End of a relationship) (!Hope for a better future)

In "Stand By Me," the 'mountain' metaphor is used to represent: (Obstacles in life) (!A journey) (!A place of solace) (!Ambition)

The line "No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid" emphasizes the theme of: (Overcoming fear with support) (!Accepting fate) (!Embracing solitude) (!Seeking revenge)


Ben E. King "Stand By Me" performer
1961 Year "Stand By Me" was released
Soul Music Genre of "Stand By Me"
The Drifters Group Ben E. King was a part of
Companionship Central theme in "Stand By Me"

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Create a playlist of soul songs from the 1960s, including "Stand By Me."
  2. Artist Comparison: Compare Ben E. King's style with another soul artist of your choice.
  3. Cover Versions: Find and listen to different cover versions of "Stand By Me."


  1. Song Analysis: Analyze the musical structure of "Stand By Me."
  2. Historical Context: Research the historical context of the 1960s and its influence on "Stand By Me."
  3. Lyric Interpretation: Write your interpretation of the lyrics of "Stand By Me."


  1. Musical Performance: Perform "Stand By Me" and record your version.
  2. Songwriting Exercise: Write a song inspired by "Stand By Me," focusing on its themes.
  3. Research Paper: Write a research paper on the impact of "Stand By Me" on modern music.

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Oral Exam

  1. Song Influence: Discuss how "Stand By Me" reflects the social and cultural atmosphere of the early 1960s.
  2. Artistic Legacy: Explain Ben E. King's influence on later soul and R&B artists.
  3. Musical Evolution: Trace the evolution of soul music, using "Stand By Me" as a starting point.
  4. Lyric Analysis: Analyze the symbolism in the lyrics of "Stand By Me" and its significance.
  5. Cover Interpretations: Discuss how different artists' covers of "Stand By Me" reflect their unique styles.

OERs on the Topic


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