Throwback Thursday: Johnny Smith, “Walk, Don’t Run”

The Ventures had a hit in 1960 with "Walk, Don’t Run." They heard it from Chet Atkins, who had a hit with it in 1956. Chet heard the 1954 original by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. Johnny based his song on "Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise" by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at #82 on their 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time list. This story was in the comments for the video: "[A] music industry guy introduced Johnny to the Ventures. Johnny took them to dinner and realized they had no idea he wrote their greatest hit! He was such an unassuming guy he didn’t bother to tell them." Anyway, here’s Johnny Smith with his "Walk, Don’t Run."

13 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Johnny Smith, “Walk, Don’t Run”

  1. I’ve never heard this version…it’s my favorite by the Ventures…I never thought about a jazz version of it.


    1. Glad you liked it! The Ventures had a bunch of classics besides this: “Perfidia,” “Slaughter On 10th Avenue,” “Hawaii Five-O,” all the James Bond themes… Hank Marvin and The Shadows were another band that had some great instrumentals. Like I said, that’s a topic that’s worth a deep dive…

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