It always amuses and amazes me that a moment in time can provide hours of entertainment or just living a better life. That such change can come from such a small thing seems improbable and, yet, it happens. Last week, a Facebook friend posted another version of Stand By Me, a song written in the early 1960’s by Ben King, Jerry Lieber, and Mike Stoller. It was originally sung by King and released in 1961 hitting #4 on the record charts. The song has been revived for film and advertisements over the years and it’s popularity continues as it’s introduced to new generations.
Playing for Change came about in 2002 when Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke decided to record street performers in America using a mobile recording device and cameras. This small step led them to record, visually and musically, artists around the world which, then, led to creating a foundation to support building music and art schools around the world and, hopefully, to provide a new understanding of how much alike we all are despite our differences.
Those two worlds collided when Mark and Whitney heard Roger Ridley, now deceased, in Los Angeles singing Stand By Me and, ultimately, recording him. Roger’s voice and music was added to other musicians from around the world singing or playing the same song. If one and one make two, then, musically two and more make perfection. So, I must thank my friend, Daniel, for the introduction to a whole new world musically. Through that one small moment, I have discovered Grandpa Elliot, Clarence Bekker, and Playing for Change. From that, I have gone on to listen to more Grandpa Elliot songs (I really like his voice) and from there to learning about Playing for Change. Your moment of whimsy made a change in the path of my life by renewing the joy found in music.