Stand by Me

Hello everyone, my apologies for my absence this past week. Sometimes a much-needed pause is necessary. More accurately, reflecting back and being that my birthday is coming up this Monday it’s naturally the time to do so. Even though I have referenced this film and the main character’s perspective before, this look into this great piece of work (and each form of media it’s represented in) is not redundant. I am in no way looking to lose the momentum I have gained this year with consistent entries. I just needed a short breather, it happens. After all, we are human and if the events of this past year-and-a-half haven’t taught us that then I don’t think anything will. But then again, who am I to ponder what is or isn’t or what may or may not happen. All I can really speak of accurately are the things I have seen, experienced and felt. And if there’s one thing that the story that inspired the entry taught me, is that our words weaken our thoughts that seemed infinite when they were still thoughts in our heads. And sadly, this is even more so for the most important things. This is basically the very beginning of the Stephen King Novella “the Body”, of which the movie Stand By Me was based off of. It must be shocking to most (well least me anyway) that this story written by the King of Horror has been transformed into the touching and endearing movie that we all know and love. There I go speaking for everybody again, sorry I’ll try to make that the last time. Of course the plot is still based around a morbid idea to go see a dead body. But what happens in the interim, the characters themselves, and what becomes of them is the emphasis.

Now you may be wondering just how the short story “the Body” had transitioned into being titled Stand by Me. Of course it has lots to do with the song by Ben E. King. Actually it has everything to do with it, because the song was picked out to be on the soundtrack to the movie adaptation in early stages of production. It may have even been before Rob Reiner was chosen to be the director. A good choice especially since one of the changes Reiner made to the ending was admittedly something that King wishes he had thought up on his own. This was the start of a great working relationship and friendship between the two, so much so that Reiner even named his production company “Castle Rock Productions” after the town that the story takes place in. I would also like to point out that also in the early stages of creating this film, Michael Jackson was originally scheduled to record a new version of the classic hit for the soundtrack. Either way, the movie put the original song back on the charts for the first time in decades. And many of the other songs chosen for the soundtrack (which I’m listening to as I’m writing this btw) are great classics such as “Lollipop” by The Chordettes and “Get a job” by The Silhouettes. And of course I feel almost obligated to include “Everyday” by Buddy Holly (if you know anything about me and my band you’ll know why). Not just for personal reasons, but this song literally spells most of the message behind the film. I feel the term “coming of age” is a bit overused and starting to be a phrase that is looked at differently by the changes in society (we’re such sickos aren’t we?).

I had learned Stand by Me years ago, but decided to relearn it and in doing so I yet again discovered a version with more emphasis on the guitar. This one actually incorporates the song’s famous bassline and a unique guitar solo for the instrumental section that was dominated by other stringed instruments in the original. I included the video lesson below. In doing my research as to how the film came about, I also discovered that there is an annual celebration of the film in Brownsville,Oregon (the town most of us know as Castle Rock). “Stand by Me Day” is held every year on July 23rd and this year will be in celebration of the film’s 35th anniversary. I think it’s great that this film has impacted many in a positive way. From the actors and other people involved in making the movie to the average person who saw this in the theater or at home. Lots of people came out and said how they could relate to the struggles of some of the characters like “Gordy” (played by Wil Wheaton or Chris Chambers (played by the late River Phoenix) of being misunderstood and other frustrations of growing up. One thing that does stick out is how these characters lifted each other up (or Stood by each other), reminding one another not to waste what gifts that have been bestowed on them. And of course the most unpopular task a true friend is given at times of telling it like it is. Some people can’t handle that, but in most cases are grateful for that whether they listen to it or regret not doing so later.

All and all, a great movie I am grateful to have seen when I was very young and continue to enjoy. Looking back on it reminds me of several happy things about childhood that are often buried by other unpleasant events or the inability to remember them. But it’s in moments like these that even if we haven’t done everything we set out to do in life we can realize that we still have lived a fulfilling life and can continue to do so. Thank you all for reading this. Until next time,

Be well,Nate xoxo

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