I'll Stand by You

"I'll Stand by You" is a song recorded by The Pretenders from their sixth studio album, Last of the Independents (1994). The song was written by Chrissie Hynde and the songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, and produced by Ian Stanley. The song is a ballad in which the singer pledges love and faithful assistance to a loved one in times of personal darkness.

"I'll Stand by You"
The-Pretenders-Ill-Stand-By-You-33264.jpg
One of colour variant artworks
Single by the Pretenders
from the album Last of the Independents
B-side"Rebel Rock Me"
ReleasedJuly 21, 1994 (1994-07-21)
GenreAlternative rock
Length3:59
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Ian Stanley
The Pretenders singles chronology
"Night in My Veins"
(1994)
"I'll Stand by You"
(1994)
"977"
(1994)

Released on July 21, 1994, "I'll Stand by You" reached the top 20 in several countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also became a major hit for British girl group Girls Aloud in 2004 and American country singer Carrie Underwood in 2007, both times recorded as a charity single. Colombian singer Shakira performed the song for the live charity telethon Hope for Haiti Now in 2010; her cover version was released on the charity benefit album, which was also entitled Hope for Haiti Now.

Release and commercial receptionEdit

"I'll Stand by You" was released as the second single from the album Last of the Independents (1994), and it reached number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 21 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, and number 10 in the United Kingdom. It charted higher in the UK and the US than "Night in My Veins", the album's first single. The music video for "I'll Stand by You" was released in 1994 and features Chrissie Hynde caring for an ill man.[1] On the long-running BBC program Songwriters Circle, Hynde mentions her embarrassment at having setout to write a “hit.” She goes on to say that she felt better about the song after Noel Gallagher said “he wished he’d written it.” It was later featured in the pilot episode of Dawson's Creek.[2] Since 2010 the song has been used in an appeal advert for the NSPCC,[3] and also the Girls Aloud version was used in an advert for Aptamil follow-on milk.

Critical receptionEdit

Larry Flick from Billboard wrote that Chrissie Hynde "returns with a worn, but warm vocal that evokes a powerful, moving presence."[4] Cashbox noted that "from the opening note, this song oozes "nice". Hard to believe this is the same Chrissie Hynde who, in the song "Precious", once told the world to "fuck off". Fourteen years ago, what drew people to her was the conviction she sang with. Though this song has a decidedly different tone, the feeling is as strong as ever. In addition, Hynde's singing has grown to where she can wail with the best of them, as she does here against a backdrop that increases perfectly with the rising emotion in her voice."[5] Evening Herald commented that the song "showcases an updated Pretenders' sound."[6] Jonathan Riggs from Idolator wrote, "Regardless of how representative of Hynde’s oeuvre with The Pretenders it really was, “I’ll Stand By You” continues to resonate decades later."[7] Sandwell Evening Mail called it "excellent".[8]

Music videoEdit

 
Chrissie Hynde caring for an ill man in the music video.

The music video for "I'll Stand by You" begins in an old wooden hut. A man arrives and is met by Hynde who sings towards him. The man is obviously worried, holding a bullet in his hand. He also looks into a map. Other times he plays with a coin or a card deck. Hynde tries to comfort him. She holds around him. And she also fix his clothes with needle and sewing thread. She helps him with tools when he tries to fix a machine. Later after struggling with awakening him, she carries the ill mann to a bath tub, where she washes and nurses him. In the end, the man now fully dressed again leaves the hut, while Hynde watches him. On the table lies a ace card with a knife stuck through it.

Track listingEdit

7" single, UK (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."I'll Stand By You"3:59
2."Rebel Rock Me"3:08
CD single, Europe (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."I'll Stand By You"3:59
2."Rebel Rock Me"3:08
3."Bold As Love"3:23
CD single (CD2), Europe (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."I'll Stand By You"3:59
2."Message Of Love"3:24
3."Don't Get Me Wrong"3:48
4."Brass In Pocket"3:04

PersonnelEdit

Additional musicians

Charts and certificationsEdit

Girls Aloud versionEdit

"I'll Stand by You"
 
Single by Girls Aloud
from the album What Will the Neighbours Say?
B-side"Real Life"
ReleasedNovember 15, 2004
Recorded2004
Length3:44
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Xenomania
Girls Aloud singles chronology
"Love Machine"
(2004)
"I'll Stand by You"
(2004)
"Wake Me Up"
(2005)
Audio sample
Music video
"I'll Stand by You" on YouTube

In 2004, the British-Irish all-female pop group Girls Aloud recorded a cover of "I'll Stand by You" as the official charity single for the 2004 Children in Need fundraising campaign. Their version was produced by Brian Higgins and his production team Xenomania. The track was announced a single just ten days before its November 15, 2004 release. It became Girls Aloud's second number one on the UK Singles Chart, spending two weeks at the top position and receiving a silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry. The song appears on Girls Aloud's second studio album What Will the Neighbours Say? (2004).

The music video, directed by Trudy Bellinger, saw Girls Aloud stranded in a desert as they "stand by" each other. "I'll Stand by You" was promoted through various live appearances and has since been performed on a number of the group's concert tours. Despite its success, Girls Aloud's cover of the song was largely panned by contemporary music critics.

Background and releaseEdit

The first version of "I'll Stand by You" that Xenomania created was described as a "weird, modernist breakbeat version", which was scrapped upon deciding an updated version of the original song would be better suited for Children in Need.[36] The track's release was announced a single just ten days before its release date.[37] Nicola Roberts said, "Hopefully if our single does well it's a lot of money going to the charity."[37]

The single was released on November 15, 2004 in the UK, the week of the Children in Need 2004 telethon. It was available on two different CD singles. The first disc includes "Real Life", a song taken from Girls Aloud's second album What Will the Neighbours Say?. The second CD format featured a medley of songs taken from the album, as well as the Tony Lamezma's Club Romp remix of the track. The Gravitas Vocal Dub Mix Edit of "I'll Stand by You" appears on the "Wake Me Up" single.

In order to promote the release, Girls Aloud toured radio stations across the United Kingdom and performed an acoustic arrangement of "I'll Stand by You" that they arranged themselves.[36] They also visited children's hospitals.[37]

Critical receptionEdit

Girls Aloud's version of "I'll Stand By You" was largely panned by music critics. It was called "a particular soggy area" on Girls Aloud's album.[38] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, who praised Girls Aloud's album, said that "I'll Stand by You" was "a thing of death-dealing tedium."[39] BBC Music felt it was "arguable whether this cover adds much to the Pretenders' original."[40] Sam Shepherd of musicOMH bluntly stated "perhaps the children most in need, are those that part with their pocket money for this drivel [...] This is a sub-karaoke version, limp, tired, and uninspired."[41]

However, Stylus Magazine actually commended the song, comparing it to Shakespears Sister and calling it "far, far better than anyone gives it credit for."[42]

Chart performanceEdit

"I'll Stand by You" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on November 21, 2004, becoming Girls Aloud's second single to do so.[43] Despite competition from four new top ten entries, the song also remained at the top for a second week.[44] It slipped to number four in its third week, making way for Band Aid 20's take on "Do They Know It's Christmas?".[45] Girls Aloud spent a fourth week in the top five.[46] The single spent two further weeks in the top ten, holding on at number nine.[47] Overall, "I'll Stand by You" spent fourteen weeks in the top 75, including nine weeks in the top forty.[47][48] The single was ranked thirty-fourth on the year-end chart (see 2004 in British music). It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry.[49]

The song entered the Irish Singles Chart at number four.[50] It spent a second week at number four,[51] before rising to number three.[52] It spent three more consecutive weeks at number three.[53][54][55] It then slipped back down to number four,[56] and spent two more weeks in the top five.[57][58]

Music videoEdit

The video for Girls Aloud's version of "I'll Stand by You" was directed by Trudy Bellinger.[59] It begins with each member of the group lying or sitting motionless in a parched desert. At the song's climax, a thunderstorm begins, and the members of Girls Aloud come together and stand in a circle. A special Children in Need version of the video depicts the group members holding "Pudsey" teddy bears, the mascot of the organisation, towards the end of the video.

Live performancesEdit

Girls Aloud toured radio stations across the United Kingdom and performed an acoustic arrangement of "I'll Stand by You" that they arranged themselves.[36] As the charity's official single of the year, the song was showcased as the Children in Need 2004 telethon. They also performed the song on television programmes such as Blue Peter, CD:UK, Countdown, Diggin' It, GMTV, Ministry of Mayhem, Popbusters, Top of the Pops, and Xchange. In 2005, Girls Aloud performed "I'll Stand by You" at Dublin's ChildLine Concert and on the TV show All Time Greatest Love Songs. In 2006, they performed the song on Australia's Sunrise. The group also performed the cover version on their 2005 MTV special (as seen on the Girls on Film DVD) and ITV1's The Girls Aloud Party (2008).

"I'll Stand by You" has been performed by Girls Aloud on most of their concert tours. For 2005's What Will the Neighbours Say? Live, Girls Aloud's first tour, they sang the song in colourful, simple evening gowns. It was also included on 2006's Chemistry Tour and 2007's The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. "I'll Stand by You" was included on a ballad section on 2008's Tangled Up Tour, in which Girls Aloud walk along a catwalk which reaches the middle of the crowd.

Track listings and formatsEdit

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "I'll Stand by You".

PersonnelEdit

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[67] Silver 200,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Carrie Underwood versionEdit

"I'll Stand by You"
Single by Carrie Underwood
from the album Idol Gives Back
ReleasedApril 24, 2007
GenreCountry
Length3:31
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Carrie Underwood singles chronology
"Wasted"
(2007)
"I'll Stand by You"
(2007)
"So Small"
(2007)

"I'll Stand by You" was covered in 2007 by Carrie Underwood as a charity single, recorded for the American Idol special, Idol Gives Back which aired on April 25, 2007.

Carrie Underwood performed the song during her visit to Africa, which was used as soundtrack for a video vignette, where Underwood is seen singing to children and doing different activities with them. The single and the video were released on the U.S. iTunes Store on April 26, 2007. Ryan Seacrest announced that all money made on digital downloads would be donated to charity to help millions of poor children at the time.

On its first few days of release, the song sold 124,496 digital downloads,[69] prompting a debut on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at number six,[70] Underwood's highest Hot 100 position since her 2005 debut single "Inside Your Heaven", which debuted at number one.

It was eventually removed from iTunes, leading the single to have one of the biggest falls in Hot 100 history. The single collected over 300,000 digital downloads in the time period it was available for download. As announced, all profits from the sale of the single were donated to charity. The single also received unsolicited airplay on U.S. country music radio stations, despite not being officially released to country radio.

During one of the elimination episodes of American Idol Season Six, the song was used as the send-off song for contestant Phil Stacey (the first of two eliminated contestants that week) in lieu of Daughtry's "Home," the show's main send-off song that season. Underwood performed the song during the Idol Finale on May 23, 2007.

Music videoEdit

The music video was filmed in Africa. Underwood is seen singing to young children and helping them with different art projects, such as painting. At one point in the video, she is seen walking into a cemetery with a girl on her arms, and a boy by her hand who is carrying flowers. Underwood is also seen crying towards the end of the video, when she is helping an ill person. This music video was made available for download on the U.S. iTunes Store.

ChartsEdit

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[71] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[72] 6
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[73]
Charted from unsolicited airplay
41

Shakira versionEdit

"I'll Stand by You"
 
Promotional single by Shakira featuring the Roots
from the album Hope for Haiti Now
ReleasedJanuary 23, 2010
StudioKaufman Astoria, Queens, New York City
Length3:55
LabelMTV
Songwriter(s)

"I'll Stand by You" is a cover in 2010 by the Colombian singer Shakira as a promotional charity single for the Hope for Haiti Now campaign[74] and was released on January 23, 2010, in the wake of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake. Recorded live on the charity telethon Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief on January 22, 2010 in New York City. She performed the song during the program, exactly before Wyclef Jean's speech and after Reese Witherspoon's call on the phone bank. The song is found on the charity benefit album, Hope for Haiti Now.

Track listingEdit

Album version[75]

  1. " I'll Stand by You" (with the Roots)- 3:55

ChartsEdit

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[76] 53

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit