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"Walk on By" is a song composed by Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David for Dionne Warwick. It was recorded at the same December 1963 session that yielded "Anyone Who Had a Heart", which, in 1964, became Warwick's second Top Ten hit. Released in April of that year, "Walk on By" became a landmark single, reaching number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number one hit Cashbox's R&B chart. (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.

Like many of Warwick's 1960s Bacharach-composed singles, "Walk on By" was heavily covered in different ways, some of which gained significant chart success. One notable version was by funk/soul musician Isaac Hayes, whose 1969 cover on his groundbreaking album Hot Buttered Soul was transformed into a twelve-and-a-half minute funk vamp. In 1978, The Stranglers recorded a gritty punk-inspired version that hit #21 on the UK charts. In 1982, funk duo D-Train recorded a US-only R&B hit with the song in a disco/funk cover. 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 US R&B hit with this song.

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

Other versions

Hundreds of artists have recorded and performed "Walk on By" on stage, including The Jackson 5 (often as part of a medley with The Love You Save) Aretha Franklin (1964), Helen Shapiro (1964) The Undisputed Truth, Bobby Kris & The Imperials, Mel Tormé, The Lettermen (on their 1964 album She Cried), The Four Seasons (1965), Roland Kirk (1965), Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Stan Getz (1966), Laura Nyro (1970), The Stranglers (1978), George Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Isaac Hayes (1969; as a single on his acclaimed Hot Buttered Soul album), Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard (for live album Cliff "Live" in Japan '72 with Olivia Newton-John), Gloria Gaynor (1975 album Experience Gloria Gaynor), Melissa Manchester, The Beach Boys, Sybil Lynch (1990), Seal, Average White Band, Melanie Thornton, Gabrielle (1997), The Carpenters, Michael McDonald (2007), Kelly Clarkson and Kiki Dee, Cyndi Lauper, Jazz Jamaica (on Massive, 2004), The Scorchers (on "Stuntin'"), The Capprells and The Sul Brothers Band (one act), Diana Krall (Quiet Nights, 2009).

Florence Ballard (formerly of The Supremes) recorded a version of the song for her debut solo album entitled You Don't Have To in 1968 - a year after she was infamously fired from the group she created. The album was shelved by ABC Records and left unreleased until the release of The Supreme Florence Ballard in 2001.

Versions of Hayes' rendition of "Walk on By" have been sampled and revisited many times, by artists such as Comptons Most Wanted (1991), Notorious B.I.G. (1994), Slick Rick, Hooverphonic, (1995), 2Pac, (1997), MF Doom (1999), Wu Tang Clan (2000), Pete Rock (2001), Non Phixion (2002), Ludacris (2003), Smith & Mighty and DJ Shadow on his Endtroducing debut.

In 2002, singer Ashanti portrayed Dionne Warwick on the hit NBC show American Dreams and performed her version of "Walk On By" on the episode "Silent Night".

In 2003, Alicia Keys recorded a medley of Hayes' version of "Walk on By" and Gladys Knight & the Pips' 1970 song "If I Were Your Woman" for her second album The Diary of Alicia Keys, entitled "If I Was Your Woman/Walk on By".

The Undisputed Truth version of "Walk on By" was sampled by J Dilla on his 2006 album Donuts

Joss Stone's song "Just Walk on By", from the 2007 compilation album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1, contains a sample from "Walk on By".

Warwick's version remains the most well-known, however, and in 1998 the song was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame. The RIAA chose it as one of the Songs of the Century. In 2004, it was ranked #70 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The Youngs recorded a version of "Walk on By" appearing on their self titled album released on Mimicry Records in 2004.

Gabrielle version

In 1997, UKmarker singer Gabrielle released her version of "Walk on By" as the fifth and final single from her second self-titled album. It reached #7 in the UK.

Charts

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


Track listings

UK CD: (GODCD 159)
  1. "Walk on By"
  2. "Walk on By" (45% Novocaine remix)
  3. "Walk on By" (live from TFI Friday)
  4. "Something to Talk About"


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 #10 on the U.S. dance chart.

Track listings

CD:

  1. "Walk on By" (Eddie X club mix) 10:51
  2. "Walk on By" (Eddie X dub mix) 7:52
  3. "Walk on By" (live version) 3:26
  4. "Walk on By" (S.A.F. dub mix) 8:12
  5. "Walk on By" (S.A.F.'s Walk to the Dance Floor club mix) 8:10
  6. "Walk on By" (Tony Moran mix) 4:31


Chart performance

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


References




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