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Some songs are so resonant that they reverberate beyond any time or style. "Walk On By" is one of those.
The original was the breakthrough hit for diva Dionne Warwick and her write-hand man Burt Bacharach:
DIONNE WARWICK -"Walk On By" (1964)
Covered immediately by everyone, it took a radical left turn when Isaac Hayes turned it into a 12-minute funk-rock masterpiece. It's my unhumble opinion that the epic build of strings and psychedelic guitar is one of the greatest intros in Pop history:
ISAAC HAYES -"Walk On By" (1969, long version)
Later it came full circle when Dionne and Isaac performed it together on their live album:
DIONNE WARWICK & ISAAC HAYES -"Walk On By" (1977, live)
The Punk band The Stranglers put some fuzzy edge back into it:
THE STRANGLERS -"Walk On By" (1978)
And El Michels Affair brought back the hot buttered Funk to it.
EL MICHELS AFFAIR -"Walk On By" (2006)
The fantastic beat of Isaac Hayes' version became a sampler's paradise, crossing the intersections of TripHop and HipHop.
Here's the Belgian alchemists Hooverphonic with their debut hit:
HOOVERPHONIC -"2 Wicky" (1996)
Taking a subtler tact, the British duo Mono played to the cinematic qualities of TripHop by synching it with the moody keys and guitar of Roy Budd's GET CARTER soundtrack, as seen this creepy David Lynch-ian video:
MONO -"Silicone" (1997)
The beat has figured in samples by Compton's Most Wanted (1991), Notorious B.I.G. (1994), Slick Rick, DJ Shadow (1996), MF Doom (1999), The Wu Tang Clan (2000), Ludacris (2003), J Dilla (2006, using The Undisputed Truth's version), and Pete Rock:
PETE ROCK -"Walk On By" (2001)
And Dionne's version has been homaged in songs by Ashanti(2002), Alisha Keys (2003), and Joss Stone (2007).
© Tym Stevens
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