Walk, Don't Run (instrumental)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Walk, Don't Run" is a rock'n'roll instrumental composition written and first performed by Johnny Smith in 1955. It became a hit single in the autumn of 1960 for the Seattle-based instrumental rock band The Ventures. In the UK, the tune was covered by the John Barry Seven, whose version, while only peaking at #11 on the Record Retailer chart, compared with the Ventures' #8, outcharted them to reach the Top 10 on other UK charts such as that of the NME.

The Ventures' version is believed to be one of the first surfing songs to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #2 and reaching #3 on the Cash Box magazine chart in the Northern Summer of 1960. Of a somewhat disputed note is that Ret. Gen. George Babbitt, a four-star general in the U.S. Army, recorded the drums on this track, and declined to continue playing with the group, as he was 15 at the time. The Ventures' website lists "[t]he drummer on Walk, Don't Run [as] Skip Moore, not Howie Johnson as many assume. Skip was given the choice of $25 or 1/4 of the money the record would make for playing on the session. He took the 25 bucks! Another early drummer, George Babbitt, retired as a 4-star Air Force general." [1].

The Ventures made an updated cover version of the song in 1964, called "Walk, Don't Run '64" (which has a guitar riff similar to "Misirlou"), and that made it into the Top Ten in the US that August.

Chet Atkins recorded a popular rendition of the song that preceded the Ventures' hit by three years. Other cover versions include those by The Shadows, JFA (band), Zapatón and Steve Howe (on the album Quantum Guitar).

Selective list of recorded versions

  • 1955: Johnny Smith
  • 1957: Chet Atkins
  • 1960: The Ventures
  • 1960: The John Barry Seven (featuring Vic Flick on guitar)
  • The Shadows
  • 1965: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
  • Steve Howe
  • 1972: Pink Fairies

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Walk, Don't Run (instrumental)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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