Run-Around (Blues Traveler song)

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This article is about the Blues Traveler song. For the Van Halen song, see Runaround (Van Halen song). For other uses, see Run around.
"Run-Around"
The artwork depicts a maze superimposed on a smoking cat
Single by Blues Traveler
from the album Four
Released February 28, 1995
Format CD
Recorded Spring 1994
Genre Blues rock
Length 4:40 (Album version)
4:12 (Single edit)
Label A&M
Writer(s) John Popper
Blues Traveler singles chronology
"Defense & Desire"
1993
"Run-Around"
1995
"Hook"
1995

"Run-Around" is a song by American jam band Blues Traveler, featured on the 1994 album Four. It won the band's first Grammy Award in 1995, for "Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group."[1] The song was the band's breakthrough hit, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Overview and history[edit]

"Run-Around" debuted on June 24, 1993, during a solo show featuring Blues Traveler frontman John Popper. The first full band performance of the song took place the next time it was played, February 21, 1994. The 1994 show was significant because it took place at the famous CBGB's and the show introduced a number of songs that were to be on their next album, Four.

The song is believed to be about an argument John Popper has with a female friend of his. She was also the subject of a later song, "Felicia".[2]

Composition[edit]

Lyrically, almost every line of the song is either a literary reference or a well-known cliché phrase, resulting in a semblance of coherence that breaks down to almost nonsense upon deeper examination, a purposeful lyric "run-around". Some of the many references include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"; Matthew 7:7; Psalm 23; and Ritchie Valens' song "La Bamba".

Musically, the song chords are G-C-Am-D, a chord progression which is very common in modern pop music. The original studio recording has a very upbeat tone to it, in contrast to the 'break-up' topic of the song.

Track listing[edit]

US CD Single[edit]

  1. "Run-Around" - 4:12
  2. "Trust In Trust" (Non LP track) - 3:02
  3. "Regarding Steven" (Non LP track) - 4:44
  4. "Escaping" (Non LP track) - 4:57
  5. "The Poignant & Epic Saga Of Featherhead & Lucky Lack" (Non LP track) - 5:11

Video[edit]

The video for the song has a Wizard of Oz motif, with Blues Traveler playing behind a curtain in a nightclub while a young, "hip" and more "photogenic" group appears to be playing the song. Dorothy Gale (played by Diana Marquis), the main character of the story, tries to get into the club.[3] She is turned away by the doorman, as are three other people whose appearances resemble the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Tin Woodsman characters. They rush to the locked back door, where they catch a glimpse of the show. Finding a club-goer passed out nearby, Dorothy transfers the stamp on his hand to her own and to the hands of her three companions, and they are able to get inside.

By this time, several brief shots of the actual band have been seen; they are playing the song in a darkened back area, with several bouncers guarding the entrance, and the onstage group is only lip-synching and miming in time. As Dorothy begins to realize something is amiss, her dog Toto slips past the bouncers and pulls open a curtain to expose the band. She and the other three are quickly whisked away and the curtain is yanked shut as the song ends.[4]

Although the video for this song shows a Kansas driver's license, the license shown was not the current design but instead the design the state used in the mid to late 1980s. The name appearing on the license was misspelled as "Dorthy".

The song reached #76 in VH1'S 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s.

Performance[edit]

In Blues Traveler's live shows, "Run-Around" has been played 928 times (as of 04/13/2012) which is roughly 66% of the shows since its debut.[2]

The song was originally sung a lot slower than it is today. This is because it is written as more of a depressed song, but it was sped up before it was recorded. Starting in late 1998, the band began experimenting with a different sound. This new version of the song, referred to as "Fucked Run," brings out the depressed and slower side of the song that Popper felt when it was written. However, when this version is performed it always segues into another song.[5] The last half of the song is sung as the normal version.

While part of the third verse was recorded as "I shall drink in and always be full / yeah I will drink in and always be full," the second line was originally written as "My cup shall always be full." When performed live, the correct lyrics are always used.

Billboard Music Charts (North America)[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rock On The Net 38th Grammy Awards
  2. ^ a b Run-Around Song Info. BluesTraveler.net
  3. ^ Diana Marquis IMDB
  4. ^ Blues Traveler - Run-around on YouTube (VEVO)
  5. ^ BTDb.org This link shows all the songs that have been segued into for 2002.
  6. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1995". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 

External links[edit]