♫ Walk, Don’t Run ♫

Walk, Don’t Run was written and originally recorded by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith in 1954.  Two years later it was adapted and re-recorded by Chet Atkins.  But it was in 1960 that the song received world-wide acclaim when The Ventures released their recording of it.  Ultimately, Rolling Stone magazine would name it #82 of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

This song was The Ventures’ first national release, became a huge hit and vaulted the group to stardom. The song was recorded before the band officially had a drummer. The Ventures’ website lists the drummer on Walk, Don’t Run as Skip Moore. Moore was not interested in touring and never was a full-time member of the band. As payment for his session work, Moore was given the choice of $25 or 25% of any royalties from sales of the single. He took the $25.  Methinks he probably regretted that choice more than a few times!

Bob Bogle played the lead guitar part on this first Ventures recording of the song. The band later rerecorded the song in 1964 and became the first band to score two top ten hits with two versions of the same tune.

Walk, Don’t Run has been covered by too many artists to even list.  In the UK, it was covered by the John Barry Seven, whose version peaked at #11 … as compared to The Ventures’ version that had peaked at #8 in the UK.  And in the U.S. and elsewhere, it was covered by Count Basie, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Glen Campbell, and even Led Zeppelin!!!  For today, I shall stick with The Ventures.

This hit #2 in the U.S. and #8 in the UK.

Lyrics?  There are no lyrics … it’s an instrumental!

15 thoughts on “♫ Walk, Don’t Run ♫

  1. They suffered here from the success of the Shadows, who were our big instrumentals hit band, but they were nevertheless influential. That Wikipedia attribution of a Led Zep cover seems dubious to me, though, as it doesn’t feature on any of their records. There is a bootleg live album from that time, recorded by an audience member, so maybe it’s on that? I’m guessing it would have been longer and louder than the Ventures’ version!

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    • The Shadows … that rings a bell … I wonder if they had any hits on this side of the pond? I’ll check tomorrow. I was quite surprised to see the Led Zeppelin had covered it, too … I didn’t think to verify it, though. Oh yes … theirs would no doubt be louder and more raucous than The Ventures’! I think I’ll stick with The Ventures!

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      • They may be known to you as the backing band in the 50s and 60s for Cliff Richard 🤮

        They were hugely popular here, and had a string of chart hits in the early/mid 60s, including 5 #1s. Over there? Absolutely nothing.

        If you watch any of their videos you’ll see lots of similarities with The Ventures, including the synchronised dance moves.

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  2. Pingback: ♫ Walk, Don’t Run ♫ | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  3. The American Bandstand audience were almost more interesting than the audience. Suits for the guys, dresses for the women! They look like Little Suzy homemakers, and a bunch of businessmen rather than teenagers out to enjoy themselves. No wonder Dick Clark was so bored at the end of the clip! A few years later, his audiences were totally changed.
    But thanks for the instrumental, Jill. I really miss the days when Herb Alpert and TTB, The Ventures, Duane Eddy, Paul Mariat and B66, etc flooded the charts. I know I say lyrics are very impirtant to me, but no lyrics is more enjoyable than screaming lyrics that make no sense!

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    • Ah yes, that’s how people dressed back in the early 60s! I remember my mother wouldn’t even go to the grocery store without putting on a dress and high heels!

      Like you, I enjoy instrumentals, and growing up my favourites were Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass … I still enjoy them!


  4. Jill, The Ventures were a talented group. They has several good instrumentals include the theme used for Hawaii Five-O. Thanks for sharing this. Keith

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