Sleep Walk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Sleep Walk"
Single by Santo & Johnny
from the album Santo & Johnny
B-side"All Night Diner"
ReleasedAugust 1959
LabelCanadian-American Records
Songwriter(s)Santo Farina, Johnny Farina, Ann Farina[3]
Producer(s)Leonard Zimmer
Santo & Johnny singles chronology
"Sleep Walk"
"Tear Drop"

"Sleep Walk" is an instrumental song written, recorded, and released in 1959 by American instrumental rock and roll duo Santo & Johnny Farina, with their uncle Mike Dee playing the drums.[4] Prominently featuring steel guitar, the song was recorded at Trinity Music in Manhattan, New York City. "Sleep Walk" entered Billboard's Top 40 on August 17, 1959. It rose to the number 1 position for the last two weeks in September[5] and remained in the Top 40 until November 9. "Sleep Walk" also reached number 4 on the R&B chart.[6] It was the last instrumental to hit number 1 in the 1950s and earned a gold record for Santo and Johnny.[7][8] In Canada, the song reached number 3 in the CHUM Charts.[9] In the UK it peaked at number 22 on the charts.[10]

Background and recording[edit]

As children, both Santo and Johnny Farina were encouraged by their father, Tony,[11] to learn the steel guitar and write their own music.[12] This music would be recorded on a Webcor tape recorder their father had bought for them.[11] Unable to fall asleep one night after a gig, the Farina brothers decided to write some music, using the tape recorder to first record the harmonies to what would become "Sleep Walk".[11][12] After adding and finalizing the steel guitar melody, Johnny Farina believed they had a hit song, so he spent a year and a half talking with various music publishers about the possibility of professionally recording "Sleep Walk".[13]

The "Sleep Walk" demo made a positive impression on Ed Burton of Trinity Music.[12] After ultimately signing with Canadian-American Records,[12] the brothers recorded "Sleep Walk" at Trinity Music, using a triple-neck Fender Stringmaster on the recording.[11]


"Sleep Walk" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on July 27, 1959.[14] Announced on the radio by DJ Alan Freed,[12][13] the instrumental rose in popularity until it became the number 1 single for the last two weeks of September of that year.[12][15][16] After losing the position to Bobby Darin's recording of "Mack the Knife",[17] it remained on Billboard's Top 40 until November 1959.[12]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1959) Peak
UK Singles (OCC)[18] 22
Canada CHUM Chart[19] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[20][21] 1

All-time charts[edit]

Chart (1958–2018) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 563

Later versions[edit]

British group The Shadows recorded the tune for their 1961 album The Shadows.[23]

"Sleep Walk" 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 Beatles song "Sun King" from Abbey Road.[24]

American guitarist Larry Carlton recorded a version of the song for his 1981 album Sleepwalk.[25]

The song "Sleepwalking (Couples Only Dance Prom Night)" by the band Modest Mouse, from their 1996 EP Interstate 8, drew inspiration from "Sleep Walk" in its melody, with the main addition to the original being added vocals/lyrics.[26]

The Brian Setzer Orchestra rendering of "Sleep Walk" received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1998.[27]

The virtuoso American guitarist Joe Satriani recorded his version of "Sleep Walk" on his 2002 album Strange Beautiful Music.[28]


The song inspired Stephen King to write his first screenplay, for the 1992 horror film Sleepwalkers. The film features the song as well.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (February 9, 2018). "The Number Ones: Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk"". Stereogum. Retrieved June 5, 2023. Instead, ["Sleep Walk" is] pretty standard of the slow, ornate R&B ballads that were popular in the era. But the difference, of course, is that it's an instrumental.
  2. ^ a b Rolling Stone Staff (June 25, 2022). "The Best Summer Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 10, 2023. Part doo-wop dreamweave, part surf-rock chill session, "Sleepwalk" was a Number One hit for Brooklyn brothers Santo and Johnny...
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (1992). Billboard Book of Number One Hits. New York, New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. pp. 58. ISBN 0-8230-8298-9.
  4. ^ [dead link]"All Songs Considered Episode 13". NPR's Online Music Show. NPR. February 6, 2002. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  5. ^ [dead link] "Billboard #1 Pop Hits — 1950–1959". Record Research Inc. Archived from the original on June 10, 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 512.
  7. ^ "Santo & Johnny Bio".
  8. ^ Hewitt, Bob (December 2, 2021). "Larry Carlton and Johnny Farina on how Santo & Johnny changed instrumental guitar music forever". Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  9. ^ "CHUM Top 20 Singles – August 31, 1959".
  10. ^ "Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d Bienstock, Richard (April 8, 2019). "Interview: Johnny Farina on 60 Years of the Iconic Instrumental, "Sleep Walk"". Guitar World. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Criblez, David J. (September 19, 2019). "Santo & Johnny's 'Sleep Walk' turns 60". Newsday. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Dennis, Jon (January 18, 2012). "Old music: Santo & Johnny – Sleep Walk". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2.
  15. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on February 18, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  18. ^ "Santo and Johnny: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  19. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade - August 31, 1959".
  20. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100" (PDF). Billboard. September 28, 1959. p. 40. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  21. ^ "Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny". Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  22. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  23. ^ Thompson, Dave. "The Shadows". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  24. ^ Rooksby, Rikky (2004). Fleetwood Mac: The Complete Guide to Their Music. Omnibus Press. p. 17. ISBN 1-84449-427-6.
  25. ^ "Larry Carlton - Sleepwalk - Allmusic". AllMusic.
  26. ^ "Chicago Tribune: "With 'Sleepwalking,' Modest Mouse drew inspiration from existing material"". Chicago Tribune. October 2, 2015.
  27. ^ "Grammy Award winners (Brian Setzer)". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  28. ^ "Joe Satriani says he and Hank Williams could have made some "great music together"".
  29. ^ Bellwoar, Rachel (November 21, 2018). "Cat Horror Purrr-fection: Stephen King's Sleepwalkers Comes Out On Blu-Ray".