Remember (Walking in the Sand)
|"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"|
|Single by The Shangri-Las|
|B-side||"It's Easier to Cry"|
|The Shangri-Las singles chronology|
|"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"|
|Single by Aerosmith featuring Mary Weiss|
|from the album Night in the Ruts|
|B-side||"Bone to Bone"|
|Producer(s)||Aerosmith and Gary Lyons|
|Aerosmith singles chronology|
Original recording by The Shangri-Las
Morton was looking to break into the music business, and went to the Brill Building in New York City to see an old girlfriend, Ellie Greenwich, who had become a successful pop songwriter. Morton and Greenwich's writing partner, Jeff Barry, took a dislike to one another. Asked what he did for a living, Morton replied "I write songs", although he had never written one. When Barry asked him what kind, Morton retorted, "Hit songs!" Barry said he would love to hear one of Morton's tunes, and invited him to come back the following week with something.
Morton hired a teenage group from Queens, The Shangri-Las, to sing. Realizing that he did not have a song yet, he immediately wrote "Remember (Walking in the Sand)". There are several stories as to how it was written. One is that immediately upon his realization of not having a song, he stopped his car on the spot next to the ocean beach and there wrote the song. The song contains recurring seagulls-and-surf sound effects. He used The Shangri-Las on the demo, which he himself produced. (A not-yet-famous Billy Joel is said by Morton to have played the piano chords that open the song.) Jeff Barry was impressed and Red Bird Records picked up the song for release and signed Morton and The Shangri-Las to contracts. According to some accounts, the original version was nearly seven minutes long. In order to fit the AM radio format of the time, the song had to be cut in length, but rather than edit it, Morton simply faded it out after 2:10. In another version Morton presents the demo to various Red Bird staffers, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Artie Butler and others and they and some session musicians (including drummer Gary Chester) took the demo into the studio where it became, "a whole other record."
The song was released as the debut single on Red Bird Records by The Shangri-Las and became a number five hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and number nine on Cashbox Magazine's R&B chart. It also hit number fourteen on the UK Singles Chart, and became more successful in the UK when reissued on several occasions in the 1970s. As noted above, Billy Joel, an unknown working as a session musician at the time, played piano on the original demo recording of the song and has playfully claimed that Morton failed to pay him his $67 union scale fee for the performance.
In the early 1970s, Buddah Records released a "Radio Active Gold" oldies 45 containing an undubbed version of the demo (no echo or sound effects). This version is timed at 2:17, and the intro is the "Remember..." chorus without Mary Weiss' lead vocal. This version (the technical term for it is an underdub) first appeared on a 1969 Buddah compilation album entitled Incense and Oldies, along with an alternate version of "Give Him a Great Big Kiss".
The Shangri-Las' recording placed #395 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list in 2004.
In 1965, the song was also covered by the New Zealand band Ray Columbus And The Invaders and released on the Australian Zodiac label. As they didn't have access to sound effects of seagulls like the original, the guitar player improvised and scraped his guitar pick across the strings to make the sound of seagulls crying.
Skeeter Davis also recorded a version.
Aerosmith released a more rock version featuring uncredited backing vocals by Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las as a single in 1980 and can found on both their Greatest Hits album and on their Night in the Ruts album. This charted on the Hot 100 at 67.
Other artists to release versions include The Adult Net as a b-side to their 1986 single Waking Up In The Sun, Mouth & MacNeal on the 1972 album How Do You Do?, The Nylons, and The Beach Boys on the 1992 album Summer in Paradise. The Go-Go's performed the song in their early days and a live version from 1981 is included on their 1994 album Return to the Valley of The Go-Go's.
Little Jackie has covered the song in her live shows.
Jens Lekman sampled this song on his song "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill".
The Eden House covered it on the CD of their 2010 DVD-CD set The Looking Glass.
Hollie Cook covered the song on her self-titled debut album released in 2011.
Club Dogo Italian rappers used the song in their song "Voi non siete come noi" from album "Che bello essere noi" 2010.
- Williams, R. (2003), Phil Spector: Out of His Head, Music Sales Group, ISBN 978-0-711-99864-3, p.125
- Emerson, Ken, ‘’Always Magic In the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era’’, Viking Press, Penguin Group, NY, 2005 p. 226
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 520.