Road Runner (Bo Diddley song)

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For other uses, see Roadrunner (disambiguation).
"Road Runner"
Single by Bo Diddley
from the album Bo Diddley in the Spotlight
B-side "My Story"
Released January 1960 (1960-01)[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded September 1959 in Chicago, Illinois[2]
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:24
Label Checker 942[1]
Writer(s) Ellas McDaniel
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Bo Diddley[2]
Bo Diddley singles chronology
"Say Man, Back Again"
(January 1960)
"Road Runner"
(April 1960)
(June 1960)

"Road Runner" is a 12-bar blues song performed by American rock and roll performer Bo Diddley, originally released as a single by Checker Records in January 1960,[1] and later released on the LP record Bo Diddley in the Spotlight. The song reached #20 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart,[3] and #75 on the Hot 100.[4] The song has since been covered by many artists.

The beep-beep chorus of the song clearly references the Roadrunner animated character with its triumphant beep-beep.

Background and recording[edit]

The session(s) for "Road Runner" took place late September 1959 in Chicago, Illinois and backing Diddley (vocals, guitar) were Jerome Green (maracas, backing vocals), Clifton James (drums), guest pianist Otis Spann, Peggy Jones (guitar, backing vocals), and Bobby Baskerville (backing vocals).[2]

The song is often confused with (I'm a) Road Runner, an R & B song wtitten by the songwriting team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Edward Holland, Jr..

Cover versions[edit]

The American garage band The Gants released "Road Runner" as a single in 1965 and it made #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is their only Billboard charter.[5]

Many British Invasion artists have covered "Road Runner". "Road Runner", as well as "Diddley Daddy", was recorded by The Rolling Stones during one of their first recording sessions at IBC Studios in London, England on March 11, 1963.[6] Newcastle R&B group, The Animals, released the song on their UK release of Animal Tracks. Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders released their version of "Road Runner" as the B-side of "Hello Josephine". The Pretty Things released the song on their eponymous debut album. A medley of "Road Runner", "Join Together", and "My Generation Blues" was released by The Who on the soundtrack to The Kids Are Alright. The Zombies released a version on Begin Here. The Beatles played parts of the song during the concerts which were released as Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962. The Clash were known to cover the song during their sound checks on the London Calling tour, on which Bo Diddely also headlined.

Several non-British artists that have covered the song include Aerosmith on Honkin' on Bobo, Hurriganes on the album Roadrunner, and Microwave Dave & The Nukes on their album Goodnight, Dear. Humble Pie often covered the song live.

The song was also covered as a part of the Backbeat soundtrack by a supergroup consisting of Dave Grohl, Dave Pirner, Thurston Moore, Mike Mills, Greg Dulli and Don Fleming.

Popular media[edit]

Starting in February 2012, the song is being used as the background music in a Mazda car commercial for their SkyActiv technology. A short clip of Diddley singing it is included in the commercial.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Reviews of This Week's Singles". Billboard: 39. January 25, 1960. 
  2. ^ a b c His Best (CD liner). Bo Diddley. United States: Chess Records/MCA Records. 1997. CHD-9373 |url= missing title (help). 
  3. ^ "Hot R&B Sides". Billboard: 156. April 25, 1960. 
  4. ^ "Bo Diddley - Billboard Singles". allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Gants - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  6. ^ Wyman, Bill; Ray Coleman (1997). Bill Wyman, Stone alone: the story of a rock 'n' roll band. Da Capo Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-306-80783-1. 
  7. ^ "Mazda SKYACTIV Technology TV Campaign". Retrieved February 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]