The idea of walking has been given many different uses in songwriting. It can be used as a simile or just to indicate you are leaving somewhere or someone. There are plenty of songs about this most basic of actions, so let’s take a look at some of the best songs about walking.
- Walk On By – Dionne Warwick
- Walk Away Renee – The Four Tops
- Walk Like a Man – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
- Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South
- Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn
- I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
- Walkin’ the Dog – The Rolling Stones
- You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and The Pacemakers
- Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
- Walk of Life – Dire Straits
- I’m Walking – Fats Domino
- Searching for Some Great Songs?
- Songs About Walking – Final Thoughts
Walk On By – Dionne Warwick
Undoubtedly one of the great female vocalists of our time. Whatever Dionne Warwick turned her hand to ended up being a classic. Her career has been interesting and included at one time being a goodwill ambassador to the UN.
But it is her singing we know her for, and this is one of her great songs. The music was by Burt Bacharach and words by Hal David. It was released in 1963 and shows her at her very best.
Walk Away Renee – The Four Tops
When you think of those glorious Motown years, one group of singers always comes to mind. The Four Tops might not have had some of the glamour and the moves of the others, but they had something else. The songs.
They never recorded a bad song as a filler. “Walk Away Renee” is just one of a long line of big hits for them. It was a cover of a song that wasn’t from the Motown label. “Renee” was originally recorded by the Left Banke and co-written by one of its members, Mike Lookofsky.
The Four Tops recorded it for their 1967 album “Reach Out,” and it became one of the stand-out tracks and later a single. It is one of those best walking songs that when you hear it, you can go back in time to what you were doing and where you were. And in some cases who you were with.
Walk Like a Man – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
These guys had a problem. They came from New Jersey and sounded a bit like a girl group. You might not have lasted long under normal circumstances. Their first two singles, “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” were both successful, but they decided to try and toughen up a bit.
This was the result, a song about a man walking away from his unfaithful girl. Written by Bob Crew and Bob Gaudio, it had the right words, but the vocals were the same. Nevertheless, a big hit for them. They remained very popular artists even after they went their separate ways.
Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South
Joe South was a singer/songwriter who shot to fame in the late 60s. He is most remembered for his song “The Games People Play.” In my opinion, a vastly underestimated songwriter who touched a nerve not only at the time but about what was to come.
He wrote about injustice, racial intolerance, hatred, hypocrisy, and greed. No doubt if he had been alive today, he would have had plenty of subject matter. “The Games People Play” was very much a song like that.
A Focused Observation
“Walk A Mile In My Shoes” was very similar, but it concentrated its observations purely on the racial aspects. Although, this song didn’t attract the same attention as his previous efforts. It was the last single he released that entered the charts. However, it was covered by some like-minded people, including Elvis Presley.
Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn
You probably guessed I would include this among the best songs about walking. The 1991 debut album, called simply “Marc Cohn,” might not have raised so many eyebrows except for one thing. The song “Walking in Memphis.”
It was one of those songs that when you hear it for the first time, you want to listen to it again. That’s what makes pop songs great, I suppose. Whatever it is that causes that to happen, “Walking in Memphis” had it. It was an autobiographical piece about a trip he made to Memphis that has remained his signature song ever since.
Still As Popular
These days, he is still performing and still singing this popular song about walking. He can be a little under the radar most of the time but has an army of fans that want to hear this song. I can understand why.
A great song about walking about on a visit to a new place and about a certain Muriel Wilkins. She was a gospel singer and piano player at a famous Memphis coffee shop he visited. He mentions her and their meeting in the song. The song has since been covered by Cher.
I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
You can like him or otherwise, and I must admit to falling into the latter category. But whatever you think, you can’t ignore him or the impact he made. The “Man in Black” seemed to do most things to extremes in some ways. But he had a string of hit records, played to packed audiences everywhere, including prisons, and is revered to this day.
A Manifestation of Life’s Problems as a Musician
The 1956 song “I Walk The Line” was a song written to his first wife, Vivian Liberto, promising her his fidelity.
The theme is that even though they are apart, he will “walk the line” and not stray. That never worked out, which is a bit ironic. In many ways, he was the manifestation of all that can be negative about a life in music.
He had times in his life when he was addicted to amphetamines and other times when he drank far too much. He seemed to glory in his “bad boy” image, which appealed to a certain audience. On seven occasions, he was locked up overnight for misdemeanors.
Plenty of Good As Well
But despite all this, he also did great things. One of which was championing the rights of Native Americans. An enigma indeed, he sold over 90 million records. Not bad for a Bad Boy from Arkansas. “I Walk The Line” was one of the big ones. He is an artist and a talented man you just cannot ignore.
That was all happening in America, but what was happening over the pond? Were they all just sitting around? Of course not.
Walkin’ the Dog – The Rolling Stones
Before The Who arrived in 1965 and blew the doors of most venues with sheer volume, you were in one of two camps. You were either a Beatles or a Stones fan. The arguments raged, but in reality, looking back now, it was a no contest.
However, apart from turning out some half-decent Chuck Berry covers, the Stones did some other good things, and this was one. It was easily one of the best tracks on their first album released in 1964 and became a popular live song.
A Novelty Song
It had been a hit record for Rufus Thomas in America. Although, it was considered a bit of a novelty song by some with its whistles, etc. But the Stones added their natural grit and edge to it, and it became more of an R&B track. Certainly, one to take a listen to if you want to hear the Stones in their early years.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry and The Pacemakers
A Rodgers and Hammerstein song with a more than interesting history. It was written for the musical Carousel, which came out in 1945. It became a song at first adopted by many grieving families who lost loved ones in the war that had just ended.
Frank Sinatra recorded it and got a hit record in the same year, and Judy Garland did the same a few years later. In the late 50s, the rock and roll brigade did a couple of versions, one by Gene Vincent.
The Darlings of Liverpool
The Beatles were gone and on their way to global stardom. But Gerry and The Pacemakers were considered by many locals, the Liverpool band. They had included this song in their live act for a while. Sir George Martin suggested it should be their third single and added strings.
It went to number one, and therefore, made them the first band to top the chart with their first three singles. Even the Beatles didn’t manage that.
Liverpool Football Club
It was adopted as the unofficial anthem by the Club. Sung by supporters before matches. The rest is history. Other teams have tried to steal it. But there is only one place to hear a football crowd sing it. Anfield Road, Liverpool.
It has been re-hashed several times to support fundraising for various disasters. And included in part on an album by Pink Floyd and even Elvis Presley released it as a single in 1968.
But for many people, it will always be a walking song linked to the Liverpool Football Club. Rightly So.
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
Another one of the best songs about walking with an interesting history. It was released as a single from the album “Katrina & the Waves” in 1985. It became a big success in the UK, America, and Australia. With royalties from airplay, it became one of EMI’s biggest earners.
I am not going to go into the meaning of the song. There are too many drug-linked and fueled arguments about it. But when listening to it, it is a hopeful song about walking, even though you can sense some disappointment in waiting for someone who doesn’t show up.
It took plenty of “stick” over this and again 20 years later. A storm surge with huge waves from what was called “Hurricane Katrina” devastated much of the Gulf Coast in America. Idiot newspapers and TV reporters were calling up Katrina, asking her for a comment? The level that some people will stoop to is incredible.
That said, it’s a good song with plenty of energy and is still popular to this day, despite the idiots.
Walk of Life – Dire Straits
This is a song that was taken from the “Brothers in Arms” album. Funny enough, it was nearly not included on the album at all. One of the producers said he didn’t think it deserved to be on there. The band disagreed, and on it went.
It is one of Mark Knopfler’s “moments” in songwriting. He has deep and dark things to say at times. Dragging us into reality with a few briefly spoken words. But he can also have a bit of fun with us. This is one of those songs.
Some of Mark’s songs are so simple but so effective. This is a straight 4 rhythm using One, Four, and Five chords. It talks about “busking in the subway trying to make it pay.” And includes the titles of some old standard songs.
Light-hearted with no deep message to consider, it is just a simple song about walking the walk of life.
I’m Walking – Fats Domino
Let’s go back to the US for the last choice. Born in New York in 1904, Fats Domino was originally a very popular and competent jazz musician. And whilst he was serious about his music, he had a wonderful, playful side.
This 1959 release has to be one of the best songs that refer to walking. The very first line sticks in your head. It was reputedly written as a result of a fan who saw him in the car park saying, “Look, he’s walking.” Whether that is true or not doesn’t matter.
It was written by him with some assistance from David Bartholomew. Even though it has that happy jaunt, the lyrics are actually about a man missing his girlfriend. While happy and it’s fun, it only lasts just over two minutes. Fats Domino, a great way to finish this list.
Searching for Some Great Songs?
We have you covered. Take a look at our in-depth articles about the Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs About Clouds, the Best Sing-Along Songs, The 20 Best Jazz Albums of All Time, and Funny Songs to Sing with Kids for more great songs that everyone will enjoy.
Of course, you’ll need a way to listen to these songs. So, check out our detailed reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones with Volume Control, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, and the Best Smart Speakers you can buy in 2023.
Songs About Walking – Final Thoughts
So, there we are. Eleven songs all about walking. As always, there are more, but these will either get your foot tapping or set you to thinking. Different periods, different artists, different meanings but all with that one link.
Until next time, let the music play.