Some great ‘Walking’ songs for prime walking season

We’re in prime “charity walk” season, with events big and small on many spring and summer weekends.

So, pick a cause you like and get moving.

Next weekend, for example, is the 38th annual Walk for Animals. And there are plenty more walking opportunities here and here.

Or try a brisk walk for some easy exercise.

And to help you pass the time, I’ve compiled an eclectic mix of “walking” songs, but it’s fine with me if you would rather sample them sitting down.  

I found more than 30 “Walk” songs — not to mention multiple hit versions of several of them.

Here’s an eclectic list of some of them, bunched a bit by topic.

“Walking in the Rain” seems to be a popular theme, whether it’s Johnny Ray, the Ronettes or Jay and the Americans.

• And so is walking with animals: Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan’s novelty song, “Tennessee Bird Walk,” Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog” and Norma Tanega’s “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.”

 

• Or heading for home: Fats Domino’s “I Want to Walk You Home” and Nat King Cole’s smooth “Walking My Baby Back Home.”

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• Or substantially longer distances: Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and two more Fats Domino classics, “Walking to New Orleans” and “I’m Walking” (which was covered by Ricky Nelson for his first hit).

• Or with a bit of attitude: Walking Proud,” Steve Lawrence’s song for underdogs everywhere; Katrina and the Waves’ bouncy “Walking on Sunshine”;  and Barry Manilow’s “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You.”

• And a couple of “walking” dances: Jimmy McCracklin’s “The Walk” and the Diamonds’  “The Stroll” (check out this video for a real time warp).

• Three “Walk” instrumentals — slow-, medium- and fast-paced, respectively:  Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk, Horst Jankowski’s “A Walk in the Black Forest” and the Ventures’ 1960 “Walk Don’t Run” (and their updated 1964 surf-sound version).

• Four “Walk” songs hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hits charts: Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ” (one week),  the aforementioned “Sleep Walk” (two weeks), the Rooftop Singers’ “Walk Right In” (two weeks) and the grand champ, the 4 Seasons’ “Walk Like a Man” (three weeks).

 A bunch more “Walking” songs

• Patsy Cline’s superb “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

“Walk Right Back,” harmony heaven with the Everly Brothers.

• Dionne Warwick’s Bacharach-David song “Walk On By.”

“Walk Away Renee,” a hit first for the LeftBanke and then for the Four Tops.

• Matt Monro’s “Walk Away.”

• The Shangri-Las’ melancholy “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand).”

• And a Wayne Newton weeper, “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.”

My top three

And my three favorite “Walk” songs:

No. 3: Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By,” my nominee for the best cheatin’ song of all time — here’s his hit version and, below, a live version.

No. 2: Mark Cohn’s “Walkin’ in Memphis.”

No. 1: Perry Como’s “Let’s Take an Old-Fashioned Walk.”

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/27/2012 - 09:26 am.

    nice list

    I love many of these. If the Stroll qualifies, how about Tiptoe Through the Tulips? and don’t forget the classic blues, done by many, Walkin’ Blues. Then pick up the pace with the Gentry’s Run Run Run. Then there’s the walking instructional song by Aerosmith, Walk This Way.

  2. Submitted by Don Effenberger on 04/27/2012 - 10:29 am.

    great additions

    Thanks, Bill. Great additions.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/27/2012 - 11:06 am.

    For the truly ambitious walker

    How about “Marching to Pretoria?”

  4. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 04/27/2012 - 11:36 am.

    Laurie Anderson did a couple of somewhat memorable walking ..er, songs: Walking and Falling, and Walk the Dog.

  5. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 04/27/2012 - 11:52 am.

    My Favorite Walking Song

    is Edwin Starr’s “Twenty-Five Miles.” It kept me going through a 25-mile walkathon. “C’mon feet! Start movin’! Got to get me there. WHOOOO!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKIjt765ANM

  6. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/27/2012 - 01:03 pm.

    ..and one other thing….

    Thanks, Don. Love your music lists; they get me digging in my memory banks. Here’s one final nugget I uneathed. From an early Smothers Brothers LP (my memory could be wrong and it is the Kingston trio. I’m not at home so I can’t verify), Marching To Pretoria. I suppose that one’s a reach.

  7. Submitted by Pat McGee on 04/27/2012 - 01:09 pm.

    Great list

    Awesome list. Thanks, Don.

  8. Submitted by B Lowe on 04/28/2012 - 05:56 pm.

    Another

    Doen’t forget Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” from 1977.

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