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Songs About Running

Home > Everywhere > Lists | Music | Performing Arts | Quirky | Vintage and Retro
by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published January 5th 2021
Motivate yourself with these running tracks
Following on from my column on songs about exercise and then the off-shoot songs about jumping, I have the third in my exercise resolution columns – songs about running!
run, song, music, rock, pop
Image by dsandzhiev from Pixabay

Now, running, jogging, fast walking and other similar activities are common sources of exercise. This is logical – all you need is somewhere to go. A local oval, the streets of your town, a path, the beach, a trail – the sites are almost endless. So long as you are mobile, you can eventually build up to doing some distance in running. You are not going to do 10km at the end of your first week, but you can build up gradually, and mix jogging with walking.

All you need is loose clothing, comfortable running shoes (sneakers) and a place. It is a surprisingly cheap way to exercise. Yes, if you get serious you have things like Fitbits, Garmin watches, expensive running shoes, spandex, etc. But to start, it is simple.

Now, one of the best ways to make jogging/running easier is to do it with music playing. There are two reasons for this. First, the beat can set you at a nice rate. Second, it distracts the mind from a repetitive exercise and so enables the body to be able to be pushed further. (Sorry, sport science was one of my degrees.) And so, to help everyone with their running, here is a playlist of songs about running or jogging. One song per artist, one version of each song, no songs about "runaways" and a good pace (so no slower songs – sorry).

Let's hit the road! Now, there are 25 songs here, so I won't be going into too much detail about each.

'(I'm A) Road Runner' by Bo Diddley (1960)

Subsequently covered by most rock bands in the 70s (my favourite is by The Who), Diddley's unique style of guitaring is what makes the original so very good.

'Runaround Sue' by Dion (1961)

Dion's first song going it alone (though he seemed to have stayed with the Belmonts as well), this became the song he was best known for, covered subsequently by many, but never matched.

'Keep On Running' by The Spencer Davis Group (1965)

Apparently this is a cover (though I have not heard the original), but to me I always associate it with Steve Winwood and co. Such a great track.

'Nowhere To Run' by Martha & The Vandellas (1965)

A song covered by many, there is something about the original that just has more of a sense of urgency. Great track from the peak years of Motown.

'Run For Your Life' by The Beatles (1965)

From Rubber Soul, Lennon dismissed this song later in his life, but I find it a decent enough track off a pretty good album.

'Run Through The Jungle' by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

A great track, showcasing the blues influence of CCR, the guitar especially is just so good. That riff is one of CCR's more recognisable and this track is all the better for it.

'Band On The Run' by Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)

In my opinion, this is the title track from Wings' best album (though McCartney would continue to make great music) and this song is a singularly great track. McCartney was more than just a writer of slow tracks (sorry, Mr Lennon).

'Fox On The Run' by Sweet (1975)

Sweet released a huge number of great glam rock songs that have become a part of the culture, and this is one of the more famous of them. Great song, with a really decent use of synthesisers.

'Born To Run' by Bruce Springsteen (1975)

Regular readers will know I'm a fan of Springsteen and, like so many others, this was the first song of his I heard, sending me down that path. And while I like the album version, the live version is even better.

'Roadrunner' by Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers (1976)

Richman was one of the earliest of what became known as 'punks' and this track shows where the roots of punk were – the garage rock of the 60s. This glorious track is that bridge between 'Louie Louie' and the Sex Pistols.

'Take The Money And Run' by The Steve Miller Band (1976)

One Steve Miller's earlier songs, this great track tells a story about a couple who get desperate. He was an under-rated guitarist and this track is evidence of that.

'Running On Empty' by Jackson Browne (1977)

One of the very few tracks to have been only recorded and released as a live song. Does not matter – it is still a great track.

'Runnin' With The Devil' by Van Halen (1978)

Spear-headed by Eddie Van Halen's blistering guitar, this song is an amazing piece of hard rock, showing from the word go that Van Halen meant business.

'Do The Jog' by Al Styne (1979)

A song, quite literally, about jogging. I'm not sure if there is any subtext, but considering the fact it came out at the beginning of the jogging boom of the 1980s, I doubt it. Fun track.

'Running Free' by Iron Maiden (1980)

Iron Maiden's debut single, this great track showed that the NWOBHM was ready to come out of the gates with all guns a-blazin'. By the way, Iron Maiden have so many songs with "run" in the title, it was a hard choice.

'Run Like Hell' by Pink Floyd (1980)

This song from The Wall became an absolute staple of the Pink Floyd live show and fair enough – it is a driving rocking song that really gets the audience pumped. When I saw them, this was one of so many highlights.

'Running Wild' by The Angels (1981)

Great song from a favourite local band, one I do not remember hearing live, despite being a decent track from the Night Attack album.

'I Ran' by A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)

A band, a hairstyle… they were actually a decent New Wave pop band of the early 80s with some cool songs. But they will forever be known by this weird, yet really danceable one.

'Running With The Night' by Lionel Richie (1983)

Can't Slow Down was a great album and this is one of the many stand-out tracks from it. Stabbing keyboards, driving beat, great song.

'Run To You' by Bryan Adams (1984)

From Reckless, this is the slowest song (beat-wise) on this list, but I had to include it because it is such a great track from a cool album.

'Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)' by Kate Bush (1985)

Kate Bush is rightfully regarded as one of the best singer-songwriters from the UK, and this track, with its driving beat is one of her finest. Amazing track.

'Run To Paradise' by The Choirboys (1987)

An Australian pub rock band that had some great songs, then sort of faded out of the public eye while still recording and releasing albums. But they will most likely be known almost exclusively for this song.

'Runnin' Down A Dream' by Tom Petty (1989)

From Petty's first full solo album, this is just a really good track that drives along with some really good guitar playing and good lyrics.

'Running From The Storm' by Gary Moore (1989)

From his 80s more public-friendly period, Moore's superb song drives along like so many of his rockier tracks, and is yet another of the forgotten gems of his canon.

'Runnin' For The Red Light (I Gotta A Life)' by Meat Loaf (1995)

Taking huge chunks from 'Good Times' by The Easybeats (don't worry – they get song-writing credits), this song pounds along at a good clip, carried by Meat Loaf's amazing voice and some great musicianship.

Whew! 25 songs about running! Yes, they only cover a 35 year period of time (1960 to 1995), but surely that doesn't matter. I hope you can find some music here to help you get out and hit the road/oval/whatever. Obviously, I had trouble keeping the number here down, but I am sure there are others I have forgotten, so, please, let me know in the comments section.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these songs at least.
run, song, music, rock, pop

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Your Comment
Thanks Steven. Now I have some tracks other than just Break My Stride to get stuck in my head while running.
by Emma Woodward (score: 1|20) 14 days ago
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