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(Ben E. King, Elmo Glick)

MGM 13617

No. 12    February 11, 1967




What a memorable song!    Most people,  if asked who had a hit with “Stand By Me,” would respond with

the name of Ben E. King, who recorded the original rendition of the song (#4, 1961; #9, 1986).    Others

might mention cover versions by John Lennon (#20,  1975) and Jerry Lee Lewis’ cousin MICKEY GILLEY

(#22, 1980).     Poor Spyder; no one but a hardcore record buff would know that Spyder Turner’s novelty

working of this classic was also a chart-shaker.    And worse yet, Spyder didn’t even like the record.


“It was never intended to be used as a record,” Spyder told Blues &Soul.    It was only an audition tape of

Turner doing impressions of how Jackie  Wilson, David  Ruffin, Billy  Stewart, Smokey  Robinson, and

Chuck Jackson might have handled the song.    “[MGM] felt it was good enough.    I didn’t agree.    I didn’t

like it, but I wanted a [record] deal, so I went on ahead and did a ‘B’ side for them.”   Spyder’s nutty

number sped up the charts like nothing he would ever again create.


Spyder was born Dwight Turner in Beckley, West Virginia, in 1947.    After some years of moving about,

his family settled in Detroit.    In his teen years, Dwight sang in glee clubs and in various doo-wop groups.

By the mid-’60s, he and his eight-piece band, the Nonchalants, were working the watering      holes around

town.    After the band split up, Annie Gellen–host of “Swing Time,” a TV show out of   Lansing, Michigan–

arranged for Spy to submit the above-mentioned audition tape to MGM Records.


Turner’s immediate follow-up, “I Can’t Make It Anymore,” scraped by at number 95 in 1967, but further

releases fared poorly.    For the next decade, Turner worked primarily behind the scenes, managing acts

and trying to write songs.     When Rose Royce successfully recorded his “Do Your Dance” (#39, 1977),

Spyder approached Whitfield, the group’s label, about letting him have one more crack at stardom.

However, none of his numerous efforts in the late ’70s and ’80s (for both Whitfield and Polydor) have

done well.