Ventures – Walk Don’t Run

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

The Original

Walk Don’t Run

Not one lyric…Just dig on the guitar riff.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

60 thoughts on “Ventures – Walk Don’t Run”

      1. I don’t think there is a genuine metal version. I think there is a popular metal version cover. Judging by their music style, setting aside the Disco version, I don’t think they would have done a metal-type version, despite what Songfacts reflects. I’ve caught Songfacts getting much information wrong.

        Wouldn’t they have had to change guitars and amps to get a metal sound?

        Here it is:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No not guitars at all…just buy a distortion box and they would have it or overload the amps…that is what I do. You can get that sound on a small practice amp by turning the gain up and volume halfway… instant Ironman lol


      3. It could be a live cut also…It would make sense though Vic…that is what was popular then


  1. The fabulous Ventures. Wailing on their beautiful guitars blasting through Fender Bassman amps. Dick Dale and all the other surf bands idolized these guys. If you didn’t learn”Walk Don’t Run’ in the early 60s, you weren’t considered a guitar player. My band, “The American Classics” for 20 years played this tune because our lead guitar player, John Payne strapped on his “62 Gold Strat” and blew a hole in the stratosphere with his surf guitar picking. And the elusive Mosrite guitar is possibly the best playing ax ever made. The electronics weren’t great, but that neck was pure warm butter and honey under your grubby teenage fingers. I didn’t own one, few people did, but a buddy of mine adopted one and let me pick it up once in a while, usually during the holidays, as a gift of sorts. He kept it in the corner of his room, case opened, surrounded by burning Voltive candles and religious figurines. I was sent packing with my lowly every-mans Gibson 335. The Fender Strat was closest to a Mosrite but apparently not close enough. I saw one of the beauties on eBay a few years back and it was going for 5K, with no case. I have their greatest hits vinyl, so I must now give it a spin.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Phil I never played a Mosrite but you are telling me what everyone else did…the neck was so damn thin is what they said…it almost played itself. I would like to play one at least at a music shop or where ever.

      Glad you liked the song Phil!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. another one of those 60s instrumentals that I recognize right away but didn’t know by name. Great guitar sound on it. Been quite awhile since there was a popular instrumental , hasn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m trying to think of one now…I know in the 70s there were a few like Jessica…there was a few in the 80s I believe. It’s been a while though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. seems like there were lots when we were kids in the 70s… a couple a year almost… “Popcorn”, “Frankenstein”, “TSOP”, the TV themes like “Rockford Files” and the more or less instrumentals with a word or two like “The Hustle” or “Pick up the Pieces.” by the ’80s, last one that pops into my mind is the “chariots of Fire” theme by Vengelis.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I remember someone doing a retrospective of the 60s saying every year had a big instrumental hit- like this one. Ones that come to mind are ‘Telstar’ ‘Apache’ ‘Green Onions’ as mentioned ‘Spanish Flea”Love Is Blue’ -that orchestral/piano/so-sweet-it-coulda-been Liberace effort was HUGE here- ‘Classical Gas’ and a personal all time fave, ‘Albatross.’ There must be more, I recall the odd spaghetti western theme songs as well, but not as massive hits.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is another of the first songs I went looking for when Youtube came on the scene. I wasn’t aware of any of the later versions; just the original. Wow, they sure tried some different things with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That first one has just a little bit too much improv going on with it. I got a kick out of the boon-chicka-boon-chicka of the 2nd one. It took me a few notes in to recognize the tune. Old Gold!

    Liked by 1 person

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