Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published January 7th 2021
Walking does not need to be a jog
Just recently, I have been giving lists of songs to help motivate people to exercise, including jumping and running and even walking. Well, I received a Twitter DM asking me why I am going on about these high impact activities when some people are physically unable to participate. Yeah, I guess I am being ableist. I apologise. So, at his suggestion and following on from the walking column, here are 15 songs about walking, all at a slower pace.
These songs do have a decent beat to help set a pace for walking, but they are all slower. I do understand how frustrating it can be when you cannot move quickly or keep up with others (I had a total knee reconstruction some years ago). But the idea of exercising is that you do it at your own pace. And if that pace is slower than others, it does not matter. So, I hope these songs can help you get motivated to go for a more gentle walk. Getting outside (when you can) and enjoying the world around you is as important mentally as it is physically.
So, rules – about walking, slower beat, one song per artist, I need to like the tracks. That's it! Enjoy!
'Walkin' After Midnight' by Patsy Cline (1957)
Such a beautiful song, this classic ballad – a country/pop crossover hit – is one designed for that close dance at the end of the night. Cline's voice is magical and the fact she only had a handful of hits is a real shame.
'Walk Right Back' by The Everly Brothers (1961)
The glorious harmonies of the brothers Everly, accompanied by such sparse instrumentation, was a sound that I think needs to be replicated. And this was in the days before pitch correction (and, yes, everyone does that, even rock acts, and often live as it is now instantaneous), so the voices you hear in this duo are like that perfect naturally. Could anyone actually do this today? The Everly Brothers need to be re-appraised and appreciated for the magnificence they were.
'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry And The Pacemakers (1963)
No, writing this column was not instigated by the recent death of Gerry Marsden. While this is, indeed, my favourite of the band's tracks, it is also a really pretty song. And perfect for walking along to. And, after only your first listen, I reckon you'll want to channel your inner pseudo-opera star and try to belt out that last soaring phrase. Even if other people are around.
'Walk On By' by Dionne Warwick (1963)
Bacharach and David wrote this song, Warwick recorded it and her smooth voice carried what is a well-written song up to some heights very few tracks reach. I do find a lot of Warwick's tracks sound similar, but this song is really good.
'Walk Like A Man' by Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons (1963)
One of the great falsetto voices in pop, Frankie Valli just sounds amazing. This one of a string of really good tracks the Four Seasons put out over the years, one of their early ones. It is well worth your time to track down some of their greatest hits. And 3 songs from 1963? Was there something about walking that year?
'Remember (Walking In The Sand)' by The Shangri-Las (1964)
One of the more successful of the so-called "girl groups" that appeared in the early to mid-Sixties, this song is a really pretty one (and so different from their biggest hit 'Leader Of The Pack'), and covered often, but never as well.
'Walk Away Renee' by The Left Banke (1966)
Another song covered so often that this, the original version, has become forgotten. Only because I have an album called The Hits – 1966 did I even know it existed. But this version is actually one of the very best and I am surprised it has not been carried through the years like the covers.
'Walk On The Wild Side' by Lou Reed (1972)
Reed's classic tale of the people living on the fringes of society in the alternative cultures of the early 70s has become a classic rock staple. The "Doo doo-doo…" bit of the chorus is instantly recognisable and the song is one you can't help but sing along to.
'Walking On The Moon' by The Police (1979)
With an ethereal quality – just like walking on the moon – this pseudo-reggae track is one of many tracks The Police released that have entered the cultural landscape. This is one of the few of their tracks where I think the lyrics are the least part of the song. It is the music that makes this track.
'Don't Walk Away' by Rick Springfield (1984)
Featuring that ubiquitous 80s saxophone, this track was released as a single and did not do well, which is a shame because it is a really good one. Most people tend to think of Springfield as a one-hit wonder; he had other charting sings and even more really good tracks. Another artist whose discography should be re-appraised.
This power ballad may be a little over-done with the synthesisers, but you cannot deny the power of Sammy Hagar's voice in this track from the album 5150. This is a really good track that may feel less against some the better-known Van Halen tracks (and there were a lot of them), but is still worth your time.
'Love Walked In' by Thunder (1990)
Another power ballad! Thunder were a later NWOBHM band that were normally a lot heavier and rockier than this track would suggest, but it is still a decent song from their canon. I really enjoy the whole over the top delivery of this song; it is so wonderful. I would love to hear this in concert with a crowd chanting along.
'Easier To Walk Away' by Elton John (1990)
So… we follow a hard rock band with Elton John. Elton John really does not appear in my columns often enough considering how many magnificent songs he has released over the years. So many, in fact, that a track like this can easily fall through the cracks when it is, in fact, a really good one. The drums are a little tinny (come on – ask Phil Collins! in the 80s/90s he drummed for everyone!) but the rest of the song is strong.
'Walk On' by U2 (2000)
Though not the most ballad-like song U2 ever released, the soaring vocals that Bono delivers and the return of the jangly guitars after a decade of experimentation helped lift this song above the average. It has that anthemic feel that U2 does so well.
'Walk On Water' by Eminem featuring Beyoncé (2017) NSFW!!
I do like many of Eminem's song. However, Beyoncé… not so much. This, in fact, might be my favourite song featuring her. The lyrics make this song as strong as I feel it is (critics really disagree with me), and, yes, Beyoncé's voice actually works here. The last line, though… dodgy.
And so there you are – 15 slower walking tracks to kelp you keep a decent place without going overboard and yet, I hope, still motivate you to keep that resolution to exercise (if that's the one you made. And if not, then it does not matter – the songs are still awesome. At least listen and enjoy.