stand by me

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Nefertiti

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a) "Whenever you're in trouble, won't you stand by me?"

b) "Whenever you're in trouble, would you stand by me?"

1. There are two versions of the verses a & b, what's the difference between the two?

2. I feel the verse is quite strange. Why not, 'whenever I'm in trouble, would/won't you stand by me'?

3. 'Stand by sb.' can mean support sb.
Does 'stand by me' mean physically stand by me or support me figuratively?


Thanks

Stand by Me Lyrics 1

Stand By Me Lyrics 2
 

Snowcake

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On first reading it seems like, as if it doesn't make sense.

'Just as long as you stand by me ....'

Think of people who are completely absorbed in their own thoughts when they are in trouble. That's what the singer is afraid of. He won't shed a tear and won't be afraid as long as the other person stands by him. But what if his lover/confidant has any problems of his/her own? Will he/she then be able to protect me?

I'd use 'stand by someone' figuratively. However, support may also include financial or physical help.
 
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BobK

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a) "Whenever you're in trouble, won't you stand by me?"

b) "Whenever you're in trouble, would you stand by me?"

1. There are two versions of the verses a & b, what's the difference between the two?

2. I feel the verse is quite strange. Why not, 'whenever I'm in trouble, would/won't you stand by me'?

3. 'Stand by sb.' can mean support sb.
Does 'stand by me' mean physically stand by me or support me figuratively?


Thanks

Stand by Me Lyrics 1

Stand By Me Lyrics 2

"Won't" you is more assertive - and could even imply 'you don't, so can you explain why not' (depending on tone of voice). I think Ben E. King means to iimply "this is a reasonable thing for me to ask". This fits with 'Whenever you're in trouble...'; the implication is 'when you need support I expect you to come to me for it because that's what a man [the writer, although women sometimes sing it] can - or should be able to - expect of "his" woman'. Not everyone may be happy about the machismo, but this is typical of soul music of the '60s. (For this reason, some singers might prefer the more hopeful 'would you'; this makes it resonate more with the song 'If I were a carpenter... would you...') - JOHNNY CASH LYRICS - If I Were A Carpenter ).

And 'stand by' can be physical or figurative in the sense of "support". It can also have the meaning of 'be faithful to an original idea': "That's what I said then, and I still stand by it."
In some contexts, the meanings intertwine. If you 'stand by' [in the second sense] your vows [interesting similarity with the Spanish Bodas...] you also 'stand by' [in the first sense] your spouse.

b
 

Snowcake

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Interesting to read a man's point of view, Bob. ;-)
I think men and women might see this point from a different angle. That's not exceptional, I suppose. Thank you for giving this insight.

**think Ben E. King means to iimply "this is a reasonable thing for me to ask". This fits with 'Whenever you're in trouble...'; the implication is 'when you need support I expect you to come to me for it because that's what a man [the writer, although women sometimes sing it] can - or should be able to - expect of "his" woman'*
(BTW, I reckon this is not an 'antiquated opinion'. :( )
 
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