Chris Ruggiero Remakes “Stand By Me” For a New Generation
Chris Ruggiero, the 23-Year-Old Known for Breathing Life into Rock-and-Roll Classics, Remakes “Stand By Me” For a New Generation
Chris Ruggiero, a 23-year-old singer of rock-and-roll classics ⎯ recently featured on PBS-TV’s My Music series ⎯ is releasing his reimagined version of the timeless song, “Stand By Me.” Produced by Joe Mirrione, Chris Ruggiero adds his own flavor to the sixties original with a more solemn, melancholic feel that builds as the key changes, the tempo picks up and the ten-piece band comes in, into an exhilaratingly soulful number. The world needs some great inspirational music,” Chris Ruggiero says from his South Florida home. “Even with so much technology working to connect us, more and more people are feeling lonely and despondent. We need real-world companionship. If everyone simply had that one person to stand by them, the world would be a better place.” Chris Ruggiero’s “Stand By Me” is available now on Spotify, Apple Music and his website. It is also on YouTube.
“I can’t recall the first time I heard ‘Stand By Me’,” Chris Ruggiero admits. “I was born 38 years after it first hit the charts but my grandfather owned a restaurant and his playlist was endless pre-1964 pop rock, so the song was a big part of the soundtrack of my youth.”
Chris has tremendous respect for Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” His intention in remaking the track is not to supplant the original, but to present a new interpretation of the song and possibly introduce it to a generation who may not be familiar with it. “I’m always hopeful that my delivery of a song might inspire people to hear the lyrics in ways they haven’t before.”
Chris says he has developed a process for covering a classic. “When I set about recording a song, I will read its lyrics thirty or forty times, scribbling in the margins what I feel they are really saying and the emotions I feel as I read them,” Ruggiero explains.
In “Stand By Me”, he detected vulnerability, hopefulness, and a pleading of sorts. He was adamant that the first few stanzas portray those feelings. Rather than singing the opening lyrics to tempo with a driving beat, he chose to sing them alongside a simple piano. “Without being dictated by a drum, I was able to express my emotions more authentically,” he reflects.
Chris Ruggiero has been described as an “old soul” whose approach to music is more in line with that of a bygone era than it is to the artists of his generation.
Born and raised in New York, his musical influences growing up were Paul Anka, Bobby Rydell, the Platters and the Duprees. “I related to how classy their presentation was and how they were reworking classic songs from the 40s and early 50s.”
In 2018, Chris Ruggiero made his PBS-TV debut on their Doo Wop Generations special, performing two Paul Anka songs and The Duprees’ “You Belong to Me,” with the original group members as back-up! The show was the first time Chris performed on stage with a live band and it introduced him to a national audience.
Three full-length albums and an EP soon followed. On Quiet Nights, Chris Ruggiero reimagines ten pop-rock standards with only his voice and a piano. Time Was and Duetsare two collections of classics and I Am Chris Ruggiero features twelve tracks with completely new arrangements of songs like “This Magic Moment,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” and “My Cherie Amour.”
This past summer, Chris Ruggiero made his second appearance on PBS-TV in their My Music Series, performing The Cyrkle’s hit, “Red Rubber Ball,” alongside the original band members. The Cyrkle debuted the song to a national audience in 1966 on NBC-TV’s Hullabaloo, and PBS producers re-created the iconic set for Ruggiero’s performance.
Chris Ruggiero is currently on a national tour, performing his version of “Stand By Me” along with all of his remakes of rock-and-roll hits. He is also excited to release his next LP, an album of Christmas classics, later this winter.