24 Best Songs About Walking to Get Your Feet Moving

“Walking is the favorite sport of the good and wise”, said author A. L. Rowse.

He has a point. We all know it’s good for us and we don’t do enough of it (if you wear a step counter, you’ll know all about that).

As we’ll see, walking crops up a lot in songs too, and is often used to mean ‘leaving’ or as a simile, e.g. ‘walking on sunshine.’

So, for your listening pleasure, we’ve compiled this list of the best songs about walking. So grab your walking shoes and check ’em out. Time to get clocking up those steps too!

‘Walking Blues’ (Robert Johnson) feat. Keb’ Mo’

‘Walking Blues’ is a blues standard written and recorded by American Delta bluesman Son House in the ’30s. Robert Johnson adapted the song and recorded a version in 1936.

Here’s a superb modern rendition of ‘Walking Blues’ featuring Keb’ Mo’ and a host of others in a round-the-world blues jam. This remarkable collaboration was put together by Playing For Change (PFC), a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music.

Eric Clapton also did a superb version of ‘Walkin’ Blues’ for his MTV Unplugged concert.

‘Walking in Memphis’ by Marc Cohn

‘Walking in Memphis’ is an autobiographical song by Marc Cohn after his experience in Memphis. Cohn describes the song as a ‘spiritual awakening.’

The story goes that Cohn visited Memphis to go to Graceland (as you do) and ended up in a bar on Highway 61 called ‘The Hollywood Cafe.’ There he met a black woman in her 70s named Muriel (who appears in the song), a singer in the bar.

In a 1992 interview with Q magazine, he explained, “she seemed to have some kind of intuition about me.”

She invited him to the stage, where they sang Christian gospel songs. Then, finally, she leaned over to him and said, “it’s time to move on,” referring to the grief he still carried for his mum, who passed when he was young.

There are lots of cultural references in this song, from Beale Street (in the line ‘walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale’) to ‘The Jungle Room’…Elvis’s Hawaiian-themed studio in Graceland.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Gerry and The Pacemakers

Originally a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is now better known as the anthem for Liverpool Football Club and a favorite song among supporters.

Gerry and The Pacemaker’s cover of the song in 1963 (reaching #1 in the UK) cemented it as a Merseyside hymn, but Frank Sinatra was the first artist to release a version in 1945.

The crowd spontaneously broke out into a mass performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ while paying tribute to Nelson Mandela at the ‘Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa’ event at Wembley Stadium, London in 1990.

‘Walk On By’ by Dionne Warwick

Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for singer Dionne Warwick in 1963, ‘Walk On By’ ranked number 70 on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, despite starting our life as a B-side.

It’s a great song about one-sided love and heartbreak: “If you see me walking down the street / And I start to cry each time we meet / Walk on by, walk on by.”

‘Walk on By’ has been covered many times, notably by Isaac Hayes in 1969 who did a 12-minute version on it on his album ‘Hot Buttered Soul’.

‘Walk This Way’ by Run DMC ft. Aerosmith

Rap band Run DMC covered ‘Walk This Way’ on their classic third album, “Raising Hell,” in 1986 (Aerosmith’s version was released 10 years earlier).

Initially writing off the song as “hillbilly gibberish,” Run DMC weren’t keen on producer Rick Rubin’s idea of covering the song. However, the track became a massive hit and the first song to fuse rap and rock genres successfully.

The lyrics are about a boy’s first encounter with a promiscuous cheerleader and are quite racy but were ambiguous enough to get airplay.

The song title “walk this way” was inspired by a line in Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’ flick where Igor (Marty Feldman) tells Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) to “walk this way”.

‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina & the Waves

This pop classic has been played non-stop ever since its release in 1983, appearing in countless movies such as the brilliant High Fidelity (the scene where Jack Black pulls out a cassette and dances along to it).

The protagonist feels like she’s “walking on sunshine” when she realizes the guy of her dreams loves her back: “I used to think maybe you loved me, now I know that it’s true.”

Unfortunately for the band, the name ‘Katrina & the Waves’ was used a lot in the press when Hurricane Katrina hit the US in 2005.

‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ by The Proclaimers

Scottish twins Craig and Charlie Reid were unlikely pop stars in the ’80s, but boy did they knock it out the park with this one. ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ was a monster hit, reaching number 1 in the US.

The lyrics are about being totally devoted to a woman, so much so that you’d walk “a thousand miles.” That’s a long walk!

At the time of it’s release, several US radio stations refused to play the song as they thought ‘havering’ in the line “I’m gonna be the one who’s havering for you” meant something unsavory. In fact, ‘havering’ means ‘to talk nonsense’ in Scotland.

‘Walk of Life’ by Dire Straits

The third track on their 1985 seminal fifth album Brothers in Arms, ‘Walk of Life’ uses a simple rock and roll rhythm with an intro riff played on a Hammond organ and synthesizer.

In what one suspects is an autobiographical song, the lyrics tell a story about a busker called Johnny, who is “down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay.” There’s no sign of Johnny in the video, though. Instead, sports bloopers were used for US audiences.

In some live versions of the song, Knopfler is heard changing the line “He do the song about the knife” to “He do the song about the six blade knife”. ‘Six blade knife’ is a song from Dire Straits’ first album.

‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ by The Bangles

Songwriter Liam Sternberg got the idea for this song when he was on a ferry boat and saw people struggling to keep their balance. As they tried to keep their balance, they struck Egyptian poses, he observed.

He gave the song to the Bangles’ all-girl group, who were part of the eclectic Los Angeles Paisley Underground movement. The song became a massive hit for them in 1986, topping the US charts for four weeks and catapulting the band into the mainstream.

One of their other hits, ‘Manic Monday’, was written by Prince who was supposedly a big fan of The Bangles.

‘Walk On The Wild Side’ by Lou Reed

Former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed’s biggest hit, ‘Walk On The Wild Side,’ is about New York drag queens (Holly, Candy, Little Joe, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Jackie), which made it rather risqué at the time of release.

Reed said of the song: “I always thought it would be kind of fun to introduce people to characters they maybe hadn’t met before or hadn’t wanted to meet.”

Hip Hop legends ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ sampled this song in their 1990 classic ‘Can I Kick It?’

‘Walking On Broken Glass’ by Annie Lennox

Written and performed by Scottish singer and former frontwoman of Eurythmics Annie Lennox, this single appeared on her 1992 album Diva.

The words are about a woman who is messed up about the breakup of a relationship, so much that it feels like “walking on broken glass.”

In a parody of the 1988 movie ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, John Malkovich appeared in the music video dressed up in period costume.

‘I Can’t Dance’ by Phil Collins

‘I Can’t Dance’ was supposed to be a send-up of ‘skin deep’ male models who can’t do anything except walk down the catwalk.

“I can’t dance, I can’t talk / Only thing about me is the way I walk.”

A frustrated Collins told Rolling Stone magazine that the audience didn’t quite get the song’s gist. “‘What does he mean that he can’t dance?’ They didn’t see the humor,” he said.

The “silly walk” the three band members do in the video became somewhat iconic. The Michael Jackson tap dance routine at the end is great too.

‘I Walk the Line’ by Johnny Cash

‘I Walk the Line’ is about staying loyal. Cash promised to remain faithful to his first wife, Vivian Liberto, while on the road (they married in 1954 when he was only 22 years old).

“I find it very, very easy to be true / I find myself alone when each day is through.”

Ironically, this song helped to catapult him into the limelight, and as a result, he became surrounded by throngs of female fans. As a result, ‘Walking the line’ became something of a challenge.

The hum at the beginning of each verse was to get his pitch, Cash admitted on his 1974 TV show (the song has several key changes in it).

‘I’m Walking’ by Fats Domino

The classic ‘I’m Walking’ is a foot-tappin’, doozy of a song by the brilliant Fats Domino (co-written with fellow New Orleans musician Dave Bartholomew).

In this great song, his girl has left him high and dry, and he’s hoping she’ll come back to him.

It’s one of the most joyous songs about losing someone you’ll ever hear. It’s possibly also the shortest, at a blistering two minutes five seconds. In fact, the saxophone solo takes up about a quarter of the song!

This song launched the music career of Ricky Nelson, who released a version just a few months later.

‘Walk’ by Foo Fighters

From their seventh studio album, Wasting Light, ‘Walk’ is a song about starting over after losing your way: “Learning to walk again / I believe I’ve waited long enough / Learning to talk again / Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?”.

In a music video that pays homage to the ’90s movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas, Dave Grohl plays a white-collar, road-weary worker who’s had enough.

‘Walk’ won two Grammys for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song in 2012.

‘Walkin’ Through the Park’ by Muddy Waters

Sometimes walking is your only option when things are tough at home.

Here, Waters tells of a man who’s out walking to stay away from his abusive wife: “No tellin’ what she’ll do / Now, the girl she may cut you / She may shoot you too.”

Waters also recorded this song with Howlin’ Wolf for the 1983 album Muddy & The Wolf.

‘Walking Man’ by James Taylor

‘Walking Man’ is about the coming of winter (“well the frost is on the pumpkin”), but it’s also a song about parents – namely, his peripatetic Dad, Ike Taylor.

Taylor is on record as saying his dad was “emotionally sort of frozen.” This was probably a result of being drafted into the Navy and volunteering for a mission setting up bases in Antarctica. As a result, he was away from home a lot.

Here, his Dad is the ‘walking man’: “Any other man stops and talks / But the walking man walks on by, walk on by.”

Despite not doing particularly well when it released, ‘Walking Man’ has since become a fan favorite.

‘Walk Like a Man’ by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

The chart-topping ‘Walk Like a Man’ followed their other number 1 hits, ‘Sherry’ and ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry.’

In the song, the narrator tells his son to ‘walk like a man’ after his girl has been telling dirty lies: “No woman’s worth crawlin’ on the earth / So walk like a man, my son.”

Despite his tough New Jersey upbringing (chronicled in the Award-winning Broadway musical ‘Jersey Boys’), lead singer Frankie Valli was known for his high pitched falsetto – he possesses a three-octave range that was quite something back then!

‘I Shall Not Walk Alone’ by Ben Harper

‘I Shall Not Walk Alone’ was written by Ben Harper and sounds like a modern-day hymn.

The words are comforting and offer hope in times of need: “When my legs no longer carry / and the warm wind chills my bones / I reach for Mother Mary / and I shall not walk alone.”

The Blind Boys of Alabama do a superb version too.

‘Walk On’ by Neil Young

‘Sleep Walk’ by Santo and Johnny was the last instrumental number 1 in the ’50s.

Indie rockers Modest Mouse did a great version of this song called ‘Sleepwalker’ where they added lyrics to it (the song is featured in our songs about dreaming playlist).

‘Sleep Walk’ inspired Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green for his 1968 instrumental ‘Albatross’, which in turn served as inspiration for the Beatles ‘Sun King’ from album ‘Abbey Road’.

‘Walkin’ the Dog’ by The Rolling Stones

Written and performed by Rufus Thomas in 1963, it was recorded several months later by the Rolling Stones in 1964.

Dozens of acts have since covered it, including Green Day and the Grateful Dead.

‘Walkin’ the Dog’ was the only song to solely feature Brian Jones on backing vocals, making this song somewhat unique in the Stones catalog.

‘Walk a Thin Line’ by Fleetwood Mac

Written by Lindsey Buckingham for Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 double album ‘Tusk.’

The song was partly inspired by Charlie Watts’ drum fill on the superb ‘Sway’ (from the Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ album).

Mick Fleetwood covered the song again on his 1981 debut solo album ‘The Visitor’. He invited brother-in-law George Harrison to help out with some slide guitar.

‘Walkin’ By Myself’ by Jimmy Rogers

As we’ve seen, songs with walk or walking in the title are popular in the blues genre, and here’s another cracker.

American Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player Jimmy Rogers was best known for his work as a member of Muddy Waters’s band in the early 1950s.

He had a distinguished career, penning several songs, including ‘That’s All Right’ (released by Chess Records), which is now a blues standard.

In this song, he tells his love that he’ll be true: “Walking by myself / I hope you’ll understand / I just want to be your lovin’ man.”

Rogers quit the music business entirely for almost a decade in the ’60. He ran a clothing store that sadly got burned down in the 1968 Chicago riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra

Reaching No. 1 in the US and UK Singles Chart in 1966, ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ was a ’60s sensation. Written by Lee Hazlewood, who said at the time, “it’s not really a girl’s song,” Nancy Sinatra convinced him otherwise with her tough, devil-may-care attitude.

In case you were wondering, yes, Nancy is Frank Sinatra’s daughter. While this song was her biggest hit, she had others, and even a #1 hit with old blues eyes with “Somethin’ Stupid.”

More Songs About Walking / With Walk in the Title

  • ‘Walk With You’ by Della Reese
  • ‘Walkin’ By The River’ Ella Fitzgerald
  • ‘Walk Away Renee’ by The Left Banke
  • ‘Walk’ by Jimmy McCracklin
  • ‘Walk Away’ by Indigo Girls
  • ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes ‘ by Joe South
  • ‘Plug Walk’ by Gucci Mane
  • ‘Walk On Water’ by Eddie Money
  • ‘Jesus Walks’ by Kanye West
  • ‘Wake a Walk’ by Passion Pit
  • ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ by Bad Manners
  • ‘Walk On (Keep On Movin)’ by Donna Summer
  • ‘Walking In L.A.’ by Missing Persons
  • ‘Walk Tall’ by Cannonball Adderley
  • ‘Walk All Over You’ by ACDC
  • ‘Walk The Dinosaur”‘ by Was (Not Was)

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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