(Top 101 Countdown) #86. Stand By Me – Ben E. King

Stand By MeYes, it’s a classic (#4 in 1961), but I had never heard of the song until I watched the coming-of-age movie by the same name in 1986, and the song played over the final credits. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, as Wikipedia tells me that the song was re-issued that year and re-ented the Top 10 (at #9). So it joins “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Unchained Melody” as movie anthems that were just as good the second time around as when they were first released.

Out of the three, as great as they all are, it’s “Stand By Me” that makes my Top 101. It’s such a simple sentiment: Don’t go. Stay. That’s what the whole song boils down to, and really, who hasn’t felt that about someone? I’m not the neediest of guys (I LOVE my alone time, thank you very much), but when I hear Ben wailing “Oh, darling, DARLING, stand by me…” there’s a little pang I feel inside that reminds me, yes, even you possess a human heart, and as Carson McCullers put it so well, the heart is forever a lonely hunter, no matter how much you may want to deny it.

86 Stand By Me – Ben E. King

P.S. Thinking about the movie (a classic in itself) reminded me of the other eternally burning question: If Pluto was the dog, which he plainly was, what the heck was Goofy supposed to be? Seriously, did anyone ever figure that out? It’s a far bigger dilemma of a question that the often-quoted “If a tree falls and no one hears it, does it really make a sound?”

Come on, that one is so simple. OF COURSE IT DOES!!! Just get a video camera, tape the tree falling, and watch it on a TV. Trust me, you’ll hear the sound on the tape. Agree? Well, there you go. The tree fell. It made a sound. Otherwise, no sound would have been recorded. Right? That was easy. Now let’s go back to Pluto and Goofy…

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