Walk Don’t Run is one of my favorite instrumentals right along Sleep Walk, Green Onions, and a few others. When I learned to play this on guitar, I was on cloud nine. Johnny Smith wrote this song and was the first one to record it. Chet Atkins along with many artists covered this but the song is best remembered by The Ventures.
This song got a push in The Ventures native Seattle when a local radio DJ used it to lead into every newscast. The Ventures first released this song in 1960 and it peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100. After this song, it kicked their career in high gear. The band had 14 singles in the Billboard Hot 100. With over 100 million records sold, the Ventures are the best-selling instrumental band of all time.
Numerous musicians credit the Ventures with helping them learn their instrument, including Anthrax, the B-52s, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Dire Straits, Dave Edmunds, Adam Ant, Mick Fleetwood, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Johnny Ramone, Jello Biafra, Keith Moon, Gene Simmons, Jimmy Page, Toulouse Engelhardt, Jim Diamond, Chris Spedding, Insect Surfers, Black Train, Gary Pig Gold, Al Di Meola, and Max Weinberg.
In 1964, The Ventures released an updated version called “Walk Don’t Run ’64, which also made the Top 10 in the US. In addition to their 1960 and 1964 versions. They recorded completely new versions in 1968, 1977, 1986, and 2000. “Walk-Don’t Run 77 is a disco track. The 1986 one was sort of a heavy metal version, and the one in 2000 has a sax in it.
They were founded by Bob Bogle and Don Wilson in the 1950s. John Fogerty inducted the Ventures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Johnny Smith Version
Walk Don’t Run 77
Walk Don’t Run 64
Walk Don’t Run
Not one lyric…Just dig on the guitar riff.