Walk On By (song)

For the song by Leroy Van Dyke, see Walk On By (Leroy Van Dyke song).
"Walk On By"
Single by Dionne Warwick
from the album Make Way for Dionne Warwick
B-side Any Old Time of Day (Bacharach & David)
Released April 26, 1964
Format 7" single
Recorded July 9, 1964 at Bell Sound Studios, November 22, 1963
Genre Soul, pop
Length 2:55
Label Scepter 1274
Writer(s) Burt Bacharach
Hal David
Producer(s) Burt Bacharach
Hal David
Dionne Warwick singles chronology
"Anyone Who Had a Heart"
"Walk on By"
"You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)"

"Walk On By" is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David. The song was originally recorded in 1964 by Dionne Warwick on her album, Make Way for Dionne Warwick. Warwick's version peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Isaac Hayes covered the song in 1969 and reached number 30 on the Hot 100 chart and number 13 in the R&B charts[1] with his version. "Walk On By" has since charted numerous times in various countries, with wildly different arrangements. The following entries discuss the chart versions of the song, in the order in which they appeared.

Dionne Warwick's original version


The original version of "Walk On By" by Dionne Warwick was recorded at the same December 1963 session that yielded her hit "Anyone Who Had a Heart". "Walk On By" was the follow-up to that single, released in April 1964 and reaching number 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Cashbox's R&B chart.[2] (Billboard did not print rhythm and blues charts during 1964, the year of the song's peak performance.) The song also reached the top 10 in a brief run on Billboard's easy listening survey. The song was ranked number 70 on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the second highest song by a solo female on the list after "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.[3]

Session drummer Gary Chester played on this recording.[4] Other musicians included Artie Butler and Paul Griffin on piano, George Duvivier on bass, Irwin Markowitz and Ernie Royal on trumpet, Bill Suyker and Allen Hanlon on guitar, Max Pollikoff, Charles McCracken, Eugene Orloff and Julius Held and George Ockner on violin, Harold Coletta on viola, Lucien Schmit on cello, Paul Winter on saxophone, and George Devens on percussion.

Warwick also recorded a German version of the song, entitled "Geh Vorbei".[5]

Chart performance

Chart (1964) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 6
US Billboard Hot R&B 1
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 7
UK Singles Chart 9

Cover versions

Bobby Kris & The Imperials version

The Toronto folk-rock group Bobby Kris & The Imperials released a fairly straight-ahead cover version in late 1965. The single became a major hit in Canada, reaching number 8 in early 1966, but "Walk On By" was to be the band's only hit.

Chart performance

Chart (1966) Peak
Canada Singles (RPM 100) 8

Isaac Hayes version

"Walk On By"
Single by Isaac Hayes
from the album Hot Buttered Soul
B-side "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
Released 1969 (1969)
Genre Funk, soul, psychedelic soul
Length 12:30
Writer(s) Burt Bacharach
Hal David
Isaac Hayes singles chronology
"Precious, Precious"
"Walk On By"
"The Mistletoe and Me"

Funk/soul musician Isaac Hayes released a cover version of "Walk on By" in 1969 for his studio album Hot Buttered Soul and transformed the song into a twelve-and-a-half minute funk vamp. Edited for single release down to under 5 minutes, this single reached number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. This version was also featured in the film Dead Presidents and is sampled in R&B singer Beyoncé's 2016 song "6 Inch".

Chart performance

Chart (1969) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 30
US Billboard Hot R&B Songs 13

The Stranglers version

In 1978, The Stranglers recorded a punk rock sounding version of "Walk on By" (with an extended organ solo) that hit No. 21 on the UK Singles Chart.[6] The video for the Stranglers' version was based on the 1966 movie "Blowup" and was filmed in the same location as the movie, Maryon Park in London.[7]

Chart performance

Chart (1978) Peak
UK Singles Chart[6] 21

Average White Band version

The Average White Band cut a lightly disco-tinged version of "Walk On By" (featuring reggae and funk underpinnings) that charted in 1979. Though AWB is sometimes remembered as an instrumental band, their version of "Walk On By" was a vocal track—as were many of their other songs.

Chart performance

Chart (1979) Peak
UK Singles Chart 46
US Billboard Hot 100 92

D-Train version

In 1982, "Walk on By" was covered by the funk duo D-Train who had a UK and U.S. R&B/dance hit with the song in a boogie/funk version.

Chart performance

Chart (1982) Peak
UK Singles Chart 44
US Billboard Hot R&B Songs 42
US Billboad Hot Dance Club Play 45

Jo Jo Zep version

In 1983, Australian act Jo Jo Zep covered "Walk on By" in a slow, moody version that featured electronics and synthesizers. The track was a minor hit in Australia, peaking at number 55, but was a major hit in New Zealand, hitting number 6.

Chart performance

Chart (1983) Peak
Australia Singles Chart 55
New Zealand Singles Chart 6

Melissa Manchester version

In 1989, "Walk On By" was covered by singer Melissa Manchester. Her version of the song hit number 6 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

Chart performance

Chart (1989) Peak
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 6

Sybil version

In 1990, singer Sybil, who had scored her biggest hit a year prior with a cover of Warwick's "Don't Make Me Over," also scored a U.S. and UK hit with "Walk On By."

Chart performance

Chart (1990) Peak
UK Singles Chart 6
US Billboard Hot 100 74
US Billboard Hot R&B Songs 3
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 3

Gabrielle version

In 1997, UK singer Gabrielle released her version of "Walk on By" as the fifth and final single from her studio album, Gabrielle. It reached number 7 in the UK Singles Chart.

Chart performance

Chart (1997) Peak
UK Singles Chart 7
Dutch Singles Chart 96

Cyndi Lauper version

"Walk on By" was the first single from Cyndi Lauper's 2003 covers album, At Last. It was also included on Lauper's 2004 DVD Live at Last. It was released as a promo only. Remixes of the song reached number 10 on the U.S. dance chart.

Chart performance

Chart (2004) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 10

Seal version

Seal released a version of "Walk On By" as a single in January 2005. Though the song did not chart in his native UK, it made the lower reaches of the charts in several European countries.

Chart performance

Chart (2005) Peak
Austria Singles Chart 57
Germany Singles Chart 49
Switzerland Singles Chart 46

Other versions


  1. Whitburn, Joel, The Billboard Book of TOP 40 R&B and Hip Hop Hits, Billboard Books, New York 2006
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 609.
  3. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  4. "The Official Gary Chester Website - Discography". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  5. "Geh Vorbei (Walk On By)". You Tube. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  6. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 535. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. "Vampire Diaries!". Strangled.co.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  8. "Cool Breeze overview". *Allmusic.com.
  9. "CD Review of Bob Baldwin - Cool Breeze". JazzReview.com.
  10. The Outcasts from Manhasset, New York discography at Discogs
  11. "Tracks on Helen Hits Out! - Helen Shapiro (November 1964) - SecondHandSongs". Secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  12. "Reflections overview". Allmusic.com.
  13. "Reflections CD Sequel Is Next For Peter White". Allmusic.com.
  14. JazzTimes
  15. We Five, There Stands the Door: The Best of We Five Retrieved March 7, 2012.

External links

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