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"Walk On By"
Dionne Warwick
Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick's 1964 hit that began life as a B-side and wound up becoming her most famous song.

"Walk On By" was recorded for Dionne Warwick's third Bacharach and David song collection, Make Way For Dionne Warwick. The song tells the story of someone pleading with her ex-lover to leave her alone. Lyricist Hal David wrote this heartfelt story from music given to him by composer Bert Bacharach.

Hal David
"When I hear music, I hear something – I hear words. And that's what I heard, the music was saying 'Walk on by, don't stop'."

Like many other Bacharach/David songs, "Walk On By" has been a popular song to cover. First up was soul singer Isaac Hayes, who recorded an astonishing 12 minute version for his album Hot Buttered Soul. "I had to kind of dismantle the tune and put it back together my way," he said of this elaborate rendition.
An unlikely cover came from UK punks, The Stranglers. The band had been performing "Walk on By" during their live showbefore committing their memorable version to vinyl in 1978.

Dionne Warwick
"It's a different interpretation… (laughs)"

"Walk On By" was intended to be a B-side. But maverick New York DJ Murray 'the K' Kaufman had other ideas. He ignored pressure from Dionne's record label to plug its A-side, "Any Old Time Of The Day" and plugged "Walk on By" instead. His listeners agreed with his choice and bought the song in their droves, sending Warwick to the top of the Billboard charts in 1964.

Dionne was one of the most successful American singers of the 1960s. Her collaboration with Bacharach and David was a match made in pop music heaven, resulting in such timeless hits as "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?", "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", and "Wishing And Hoping".

I guess that was the beginning of a life-time love affair really with Hal David and Burt Bacharach

Johnnie Walker

 Listen to Johnnie Walker on discovering Bacharach & David in the 60s.

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