1001 Songs Challenge,  1960s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #153: Walk On By (1964)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (1964)

After stints in France and Peru, we’re heading back north today to the US. The Americans have certainly dominated our 1001 Songs list so far and that trend shows no sign of abating. Our guest today is Dionne Warwick who has had a long and prolific career with a multitude of hits to her name. Our featured song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was produced specially for Warwick and she did not let the writers down when she sang Walk On By.

Walk On By is a song of heartbreak and that struggle to try and move on when a relationship has ended. Warwick sings of the tears that fall whenever she sees the man she still loves. She sings of scenarios where their paths cross in the street and beseeches her lost lover to keep walking, to not stop and to look at her for if he does, he will see the torment and pain that she feels about him. She doesn’t want him to know the truth. Warwick sings of her “foolish pride” and how this is all that remains. She wants to appear strong to this man, to show that she is coping fine despite him saying goodbye, but the reality is that she is in pieces and doesn’t know where to start in rebuilding herself. 

Walk On By is a genuine 1960s’ classic and held in high regard by critics to this day. Rolling Stone magazine placed the song in their Top 100 greatest ever songs which is quite an accolade. Burt Bacharach’s composition is played beautifully but the plaudits here must go to Warwick with her heartrending delivery of Hal David’s lyrics. We’ve had a fair few songs about broken hearts on this list thus far but Walk On By is easily one of the best.


Favourite songs so far:

Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)

Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (1958)

Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)

The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)

The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow (1960)

Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1960)

Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)

Roy Orbison – In Dreams (1963)

The Ronettes – Be My Baby (1963)

Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (1964)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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