Sleep Walk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the instrumental. For the song by Ultravox, see Sleepwalk (song). For other uses, see Sleepwalker (disambiguation).
"Sleep Walk"
Sleep Walk.jpg
"Sleep Walk" cover
Song by Santo & Johnny from the album Santo & Johnny
Released 1959
Genre Instrumental rock, surf rock
Label Canadian-American Records
Writer Santo Farina and Johnny Farina

"Sleep Walk" is an instrumental steel guitar-based song written, recorded, and released in 1959 by brothers Santo & Johnny Farina. (The BMI Repertoire database and the original release credits three Farinas as composers including sister Ann.[1]) It was recorded at Trinity Music in Manhattan, New York City, New York. "Sleep Walk" entered Billboard's Top 40 on August 17, 1959. It rose to the number-one position for two weeks in September (the 21st and the 28th)[2] and remained in the Top 40 until November 9. "Sleep Walk" also reached number four on the R&B chart.[3] It was the last instrumental to hit number one in the 1950s and earned Santo & Johnny a gold record.[4] The Brian Setzer Orchestra recording of "Sleep Walk" received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1998.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

One of the first covers was by Betsy Brye (stage name of Bette Anne Steele), also in 1959.[6] It was released on a single by Columbia Records as catalog number DB 4530.[7] Although Santo & Johnny wrote lyrics for "Sleep Walk", they never recorded a version with the lyrics; Brye's version includes these lyrics.[1]

The song has been also covered by Farm Equis (featuring Ariel Contino in guitars), Al Kooper (playing the guitar part on synthesizer), Al Caiola, Paul Mauriat, The Shadows, Les Paul, Tom Doughty, The Ventures, California Guitar Trio, Jake Shimabukuro, Danny Gatton, Larry Carlton,[8] Deftones, Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins,[9] B. J. Cole, Basil Henriques, Micah P. Hinson, Amos Garrett, Henri Rene, Jonathan Richman, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani,[10] Charlie Musselwhite, The Chantays, Tommy Crook, The Stokers, Steve Howe,[11] Those Darn Accordions, Blake Mills and Carlos Santana recorded a cover version for the musical score to the 1987 feature film La Bamba but this version was not released in the soundtrack.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra recording of "Sleep Walk" received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1998.[5]

Country Music Hall of Famer Jimmy Russell recorded a version in 2001. French guitarist Jean-Pierre Danel had a Top 20 hit in Europe with his version of the song, recorded in 2006.

Modest Mouse, Deftones, My Morning Jacket, and The Raveonettes have all recorded adaptations of the song with lyrics.

"Sleepwalk" was a principal inspiration to Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green for his 1968 instrumental "Albatross", which became a worldwide hit. "Albatross" in turn inspired the The Beatles song "Sun King" from Abbey Road.[12]

Popular culture[edit]

"Sleep Walk" continues to be popular due to consistent radio airplay as well as its usage in commercials, television shows, and movies.



  • The episode "1961" of NBC's Heroes featured the song playing on a record in a diner.
  • Episode 20 of season eight of Criminal Minds

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "All Songs Considered Episode 13". NPR's Online Music Show. NPR. 2002-02-06. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ [dead link]"Billboard #1 Pop Hits — 1950-1959". Record Research Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 512. 
  4. ^ "Santo & Johnny Bio". 
  5. ^ a b "Grammy Award winners (Brian Setzer)". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  6. ^ "Bette Anne Steele Bio". Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  7. ^ Second Hand Songs - Medium: Sleep Walk - Betsy Brye (1959)
  8. ^ "Larry Carlton - Sleepwalk - GRP Records". Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  9. ^ "Teensville (1960) at Chet Atkins: Mister Guitar - Discography". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  10. ^ "Interview with Joe Satriani". Heart of Steel. [1]. October 2002. 
  11. ^ "Quantum Guitar" 1998 album (Resurgence RES130CD)
  12. ^ Rooksby, Rikky (2004). Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Guide to Their Music. Omnibus Press. p. 17. ISBN 1-844494-27-6.