Road Runner (Bo Diddley song)

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"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]
Songwriter(s) Ellas McDaniel
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Bo Diddley[2]
Bo Diddley singles chronology
"Say Man, Back Again"
"Road Runner"
"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":

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.

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.

Use in 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]

The song appears in the first episode of web series 11.22.63., starring James Franco.


  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]