Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Tune: Stand by me - the street musician version

It's a favourite song of mine but this version really got me today. It's a simple collaboration between street musicians all around the world performing the Ben E. King classic. What I love is how they all added their own little bits as the song travelled. Let it build. It's worth it.

This is taken from the playingforchange.com project, a multimedia movement created to

"... inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world."

This version started with the vocal and guitar talent of Roger Ridley, a street musician in Santa Monica, California. It then travelled to New Orleans to have vocals and harmonica added by one Grandpa Elliott as he listened to Ridley's base track on headphones.

From there it went through Africa, South America and Europe with more and more instruments and vocals resulting in the final version above. Rather inspiringly, it was all done with a simple laptop and some microphones.

You'll find much more details on the Playing for Change website. There's a CD you can buy, they have a YouTube channel and more. Really inspiring stuff.


  1. I remember being 10yrs of age, listening to a recording of a late night radio show i recorded, and Stand By Me was one of the songs the played, it was played and rewound many times :D.

    Wow... just remembered that Blueberry Hill was the next song on the tape. not heard that in YEARS!!!

  2. Love it! Amazing stuff, except that OJ snored the whole way through it and kinda ruined the atmosphere!
    Its one of my favourite songs too, and I love the film. Its still very funny.