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!