Stand By Me chords by Ben E. King

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Stand By Me | Chords + Lyrics


| A | A | F#m | F#m |
| D | E | A | A |

Verse 1

| A | A | F#m | F#m |
When the night has come, and the land is dark.
| D | E | A | A |
And the moon, is the only, light we’ll see.
| A | A | F#m | F#m |
No, I won’t, be afraid, oh I won’t, be afraid.
| D | E | A | A |
Just as long, as you stand, stand by me.

Chorus 1

| A | A | F#m | F#m |
So darlin’, darlin’, stand by me, oh, stand by me.
| D | E | A | A |
Oh, stand, stand by me. Stand by me.

Verse 2

| A | A | F#m | F#m |
If the sky that we look upon, should tumble and fall.
| D | E | A | A |
Or the mountain, should crumble to the sea.
| A | A | F#m | F#m |
I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no I won’t, shed a tear.
| D | E | A | A |
Just as long, as you stand, stand by me.

Chorus 2

| A | A | F#m | F#m |
And darlin’, darlin’, stand by me, oh stand by me.
| D | E | A | A |
Oh, stand now. Stand by me, stand by me.


A | Aadd9 | F#m11 | F#m7 |
Dsus2 | E | Aadd9 | Aadd9 |
Aadd9 | Aadd9 | F#m7 | F#m7 |
Dadd9 | E | Aadd9 | Aadd9 |

Chorus 3

| A | A | F#m | F#m |
And darlin’, darlin’, stand by me, oh stand by me.
| D | E | A | A |
Oh, stand now, stand by me, stand by me.


| A | A | F#m | F#m |
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you. Stand, by me? Oh, stand by me, woah won’t you,
| D | E | A | A |
Stand now? Oh, stand, stand by me.

Stand By Me Chords: Learn the progressions

Stand By Me guitar lesson with TAB T

Dubbed the ’50s progression or even the Stand By Me changes(!), we have the I – VI – IV – V. In the key of A, Stand By Me’s chords by Ben E. King are:

||: A (I) | A | F#m (VI) | F#m |
| D (IV) | E (V) | A (I) | A :||

As they never change, and everybody in the entire world knows this tune, we may have the perfect emergency addition to any covers band’s set list in Stand By Me.

Compulsory to know how to play it, you could use this as an opportunity to see if you know your CAGED chord shapes well enough. Try this:

Every time you play Stand By Me, explore the fretboard by playing the I – VI – IV – V progression in all areas.

Since you’ll play this tune with most bands, and a lot of singers like changing the key, this is an excellent opportunity for you to check your fretboard knowledge live, under a bit of pressure.

Before you do this on stage in a new key with a new band, perhaps try it as you play along with the original recording. In order to be in tune with Ben E. King, you need to change the Hz on my online guitar tuner from 440 to 443.

If you play Stand By Me’s chord on your own using just an acoustic guitar, you need to consider what the bass is playing and build your part from there.

Members start by exploring this and end up with this guitar part.

Stand By Me chords and TAB. One acoustic guitar arrangement in the key of A.

Members also look at how to play the solo and in doing so extend the simple chords to m11 and add9.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson (members only): Stand By Me – Guitar Lesson with TAB.

Become a member today and get unlimited access to all step-by-step guitar coursesTAB for the songbook, the Self-Eliminating Practice Routine, and the eBook Spytunes Method.

Stand By Me was a hit, several times!

Originally released in 1961 by Ben E. King, it was originally intended for King’s previous band, The Drifters but they didn’t like it.

As Ben was recording another song, Spanish Harlem, there was some studio time left and he decided to use it to record what was to become his signature song and one of the biggest hits of all time.

In the charts, Stand By Me reached #4 in the U.S. and even clinched the top spot in Canada, Ireland and the U.K.

Following the original release, many artists recorded their version, first was Adriano Celentano who did an Italian version in 1962, reaching #1 in Italy.

This was followed by Otis Redding in 1964 and then many more before 1975, when John Lennon released it as a single and got it back in the charts before he retired from recording for five years.

The same year Lennon got back on it, Mickey Gilley topped the country charts with his version of Stand By Me. As a B-Side, he had Cotton-Eyed Joe.

But the biggest impact came in 1987 when the movie named after it, based on a Stephen King novella called The Body became a worldwide success.

The video that came with the movie starred River Phoenix and brought Stand By Me back in the charts, reaching #1 in the U.K.

But this wasn’t the last time artists recorded it! Tracy Chapman did her version in 2015 and my singer friend Elaine recorded it with her choir The Kingdom Choir for Harry and Meghan’s 2018 Royal Wedding, again putting it back in the charts.

There’s also BBC’s favourite band Florence + The Machine and hundreds more, in fact, over 400 artists have recorded Stand By Me, making it one of the most covered tunes of all time.

But let’s not forget the endless amount of cover bands that play this classic every Saturday night, worldwide!

Stand By Me Chords | Related Pages

Intermediate Acoustic

There are many more Intermediate Acoustic Songs with chords similar to Stand By Me.

Most intermediate acoustic tunes can’t be played using just basic open-position chords. We have to move up the fretboard and play CAGED barre chords as well.

We incorporate bass lines, add licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we’ll invent second guitar parts and play these songs together.

Intermediate Electric

When you can play Stand By Me, try these intermediate electric songs as well.

The intermediate electric tunes will help you with learning the CAGED system all over the fretboard, both for chords and pentatonic scales.

Learn these Motown/Soul classics, and you’ll not just improve dramatically but also gain yourself a repertoire.

Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Stand By Me's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.

Ben E. King

Ben E. King wrote Stand By Me.

Starting out with The Drifters, Ben E. King soon embarked on a solo career where his first two singles would become his best-known tunes.

Hits include There Goes My Baby, This Magic Moment, Save The Last Dance For Me, Spanish Harlem, and Stand By Me.

Ben E. King on the web

Listen to Ben E. King on Spotify.


There are many more Ballads to learn once you can play Stand By Me.

The perfect first dance or an emotional piece for your next audition, this collection of ballads is great for working on your expression.

Learn tunes from Burt Bacharach, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Eva Cassidy, Ben Harper, Etta James, Chet Baker, Elvis, Norah Jones, and many more.

Motown & Soul

Check out these Motown and Soul tunes when you know how to play Stand By Me's chords.

Motown & Soul is the best place to start if you want to get better at playing the electric guitar. The harmony is simple and there is room for improvisation.

Learn tunes by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and many more.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this article about Stand By Me's chords.

This article on Stand By Me’s chords was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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