Remember (Walking in the Sand)

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"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
Japanese picture sleeve
Single by the Shangri-Las
from the album Leader of the Pack
B-side"It's Easier to Cry"
ReleasedAugust 1964[1]
RecordedJuly 1964[2]
StudioMira Sound, New York City[2]
LabelRed Bird
Songwriter(s)George Morton
Producer(s)Artie Ripp, Jeff Barry
The Shangri-Las singles chronology
"Wishing Well"
"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
"Leader of the Pack"

"Remember (Walking in the Sand)", also known as "Remember", is a song written by George "Shadow" Morton. It was originally recorded by the girl group the Shangri-Las, who had a top five hit with it in 1964. A remake by Aerosmith in 1979 was a minor hit. There have been many other versions of the song as well.

The Shangri-Las' version[edit]


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 parked next to a beach on Long Island and there wrote the song.[citation needed] The song contains recurring seagulls-and-surf sound effects.[3] 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[4] and others and they and some session musicians took the demo into the studio where it became, "a whole other record."[5]


The song was released as the third single by the Shangri-Las, their first on Red Bird Records, and became a number five hit on the Billboard Hot 100,[6] and number nine on the Cashbox R&B chart.[7] 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.

Cash Box described it as "a hauntingly plaintive pop-r&b romancer with an off-beat rapidly-changing, hard-shufìiin' beat."[8]

The Shangri-Las' recording placed #395 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list in 2004. Billboard named the song #26 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.[9]

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".


According to musicologist Albin J. Zak:[2]

The Shangri-Las

  • Mary Weiss – lead vocal
  • Marge Ganser – backing vocal
  • Mary Ann Ganser – backing vocal
  • Betty Weiss – backing vocal

Additional musicians and production

Chart history[edit]

Aerosmith version[edit]

"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Night in the Ruts
B-side"Bone to Bone"
ReleasedDecember 11, 1979
GenreBlues rock, hard rock
Songwriter(s)George Morton
Producer(s)Aerosmith, Gary Lyons
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Chip Away the Stone"
"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
"Bitch's Brew"


Aerosmith released a more rock oriented version of the song featuring uncredited backing vocals by Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las as a single in 1979. Released on Columbia Records it was taken from the group's sixth studio album Night in the Ruts and was also included on their Greatest Hits album. Aerosmith's cover was co-produced by Gary Lyons. It charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 67. It also peaked at number 29 on the Canadian RPM singles chart in March 1980.[18]

Louise Goffin version[edit]

In 1979, Louise Goffin released a remake of the song on her debut album, Kid Blue. That version reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100.[19]

In popular culture[edit]

The bridge of The Beatles' 1995 single "Free as a Bird", with its similar lyric "Whatever happened to the life we once knew?", pays homage to the song.[20]

In 2005, American rapper Capone sampled the song and pitched it up 5 semitones for "Streets Favorite" (often mislabeled with the song title "Oh No"), a track from his 2005 album Pain, Time, & Glory. In 2020, the instrumental to "Streets Favorite" became an Internet meme on TikTok, typically being played when an accident is shown.[21][22] The Capone sample was popularized in the BBC series Don't Mess!, and subsequently appeared in several marketing campaigns for the show between 2010 and 2015.

Amy Winehouse covered part of the pre-chorus when singing "Back to Black" during live shows.[23]


  1. ^ Musician Billy Joel played piano on Morton's demo recording of the song, and Morton later suggested that part of Joel's piano contribution was retained on the opening of the final recording.[10] Zak instead attributes the instrument to an unidentified studio musician.[2]


  1. ^ Selvin 2014, chap. 14.
  2. ^ a b c d Zak 2022, p. 126.
  3. ^ Williams, R. (2003), Phil Spector: Out of His Head, Music Sales Group, ISBN 978-0-711-99864-3, p.125
  4. ^ Artie Butler reference in: Visconti, Tony. The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. ISBN 978-0-00-722944-4. pp31.
  5. ^ Emerson, Ken, ‘’Always Magic In the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era’’, Viking Press, Penguin Group, NY, 2005 p. 226
  6. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Charts – The Sixties/The Seventies", Record Research Inc, 1990
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 520.
  8. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. August 8, 1964. p. 12. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  9. ^ "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  10. ^ MacFarlane 2016, p. xxi.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". September 28, 1964. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  12. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search lever".
  13. ^ "Official Charts Company". October 14, 1964. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  14. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  15. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 10/10/64".
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1964/Top 100 Songs of 1964 | Music Outfitters".
  17. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1964".
  18. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  19. ^ "Louise Goffin Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  20. ^ "How Original Were The Beatles?". Record Collector. Metropolis International Group Ltd. September 5, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  21. ^ Barradale, Greg (November 10, 2020). "Here's How You Make the 'Oh No' TikTok Videos You're Seeing All Over the 'For You' Page". The Tab. Digitalbox Publishing Ltd. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  22. ^ German, Honey (June 25, 2021). "The True Roots of the TikTok "Oh No" Song". New York's Power 105.1 FM. iHeartMedia, Inc.
  23. ^ Marcus, Greil (August 29, 2014). "How Amy Winehouse Made 'To Know Him Is to Love Him' Her Own". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Ltd.