Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke

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September 21, 2018

Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke

"Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke

Baroque Pop

The song “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke is an example of Sixties Baroque pop music. Back in the 1700s, Baroque composers often used a descending bass line to convey sorrow. Writers Michael Brown, Tony Sansone, and Bob Calilli used this musical idiom in constructing the verse for “Walk Away Renee.” The bass notes descend chromatically (one half step at a time) throughout the verse, providing the same sorrowful effect. And this beautiful song about heartbreak is based on a true story.

Writer Michael Brown was secretly in love with the girlfriend of the Left Banke’s bassist. And the girl’s name happened to be Renee. Brown recalls what happened when the pretty Renee showed up at their recording session: “My hands were shaking when I tried to play, because she was right there in the control room. There was no way I could do it with her around, so I came back and did it later.”

The descending bass line, as well as the harpsichord and strings, led critics to describe the Left Banke’s sound as “Baroque Pop” and “Bach Rock.” The record became a solid hit, spending 13 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 and peaking at #5 in the fall of 1966.

“Walk Away Renee” is listed at #220 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It became a hit just two years later for The Four Tops, and in 2006 for Linda Ronstadt.

And what became of the eponymous Renee? Renee Fladen-Kamm is currently a noted singer, vocal teacher and recording artist living in the San Francisco Bay area. She records medieval music as vocal director of the San Francisco based Sherwood Consort.

The Left Banke lineup was: Al Rogers (drums), John Abbott (bass), George Hirsh (guitar), Mike Brown (keyboards), Stever Martin Caro (lead singer).

And…. here are the lyrics to “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke:

“And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame.

From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries.

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now, as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me, it cries.

Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me though they’re so small

Just walk away, Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame.”

For another song by The Left Banke: “Pretty Ballerina.”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to┬áchill out and listen to the featured song on the┬ástereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ commercial free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke.

2 Comments

  1. […] For another song by The Left Banke: “Walk Away Renee.” […]

  2. […] For another song by The Left Banke: “Walk Away Renee.” […]

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