Ben E. King: Don't Play That Song
Here’s another original, one which I have not featured in my long-running series over at my place. More famously covered by Aretha Franklin eight years after Ben E. King’s 1962 original, the song states this week’s theme unequivocally: “You know that you lied, you lied, you lied, lied, lied, lied.”
Don’t Play That Song was written by Atlantic supremo Ahmet Ertegün with Betty Nelson. Before Ben E. King, former singer of The Drifters, recorded the song, legendary RCA producer S. Elmo Blum had come across a demo recording of it. Recognising the song’s hit potential, he urged his record company to buy the rights for Elvis Presley, who according to some reports even demoed it. One can almost hear Elvis singing it; alas the many esoteric Elvis studio cuttings have revealed no recording of Don’t Play That Song, so we should take that rumour with a pinch of salt.
In the event, Ertegün wisely decided that one of his artists should record the song, using a riff that is more than just a bit similar to that of King’s big hit the previous year, Stand By Me. It reached #11 in the US charts.