The newly-released, all-star charity version of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” assembled by UK broadcaster Bob Harris and his team, has not only made a strong start at home, but has secured a US release agreement with Big Machine Records.
“Stand By Me (2020)” is raising funds for Help Musicians and goes under the collective name of Whispering Bob’s All-Stars, reflecting the BBC Radio 2 and television presenter’s longtime nickname. It’s released to aid musicians struggling during the pandemic, and to mark the single’s 60th anniversary as well as Harris’ 50th as a broadcaster. Contributions can be made here.
The cast list on the final recording expanded vastly from those initial names shared when the project was announced in August. There are appearances on the recording from such US-based notables as Rosanne Cash, Darius Rucker, Duane Eddy, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Peter Frampton, John Oates, Jimmie Allen, and Keb’ Mo’.
UK rock, roots, country and blues artists on the track include Mark Knopfler, Paul Rodgers, Rick Wakeman, Richard Thompson, the Shires, Ward Thomas, PP Arnold, Judie Tzuke, Kiki Dee, Leo Sayer, Elles Bailey, Laura Oakes, Wildwood Kin, and countless others seen in the video. Harris himself contributes triangle. The clip has been added to national network BT’s video channel alongside releases by Sheryl Crow, Lana del Rey, HAIM and Sylvan Esso.
Paul Rodgers, who earlier reflected that Harris gave him and Free one of their first breaks on the much-loved music series he hosted, The Old Grey Whistle Test, has tweeted: “.@WhisperingBob, his son Miles and their team have done an amazing job putting this together both visually and audio. Check it out and support a much needed cause.” Richard Thompson wrote: “60 years to the day since it was first recorded, I’m so proud to be a part of #StandByMe2020!”
“StandByMe (2020)” is out now and can be bought here.