Speed Reads

In Memoriam

Watch Tracy Chapman's beautiful cover of Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me'

Ben E. King, who wrote (with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) and recorded the original and iconic version of "Stand By Me," died on Thursday at age 76. That song has been covered more than 400 times, but just two weeks ago, David Letterman requested that Tracy Chapman perform it live on his show. She did, just her and a guitar. It's haunting.

"When Harry was a little boy," Letterman said of his 11-year-old son, "I knew two songs, and I loved them, and I found them both, certainly, meaningful for me." One was Simon and Garfunkel's "America," and the other, King's "Stand By Me." Now, he said, "to hear Tracy Chapman sing that song is heaven." Watch below. —Peter Weber