“Sleepwalk”: The True Origin

“SLEEP WALK”    Santo and Johnny

Santo and Johnny sleepwalkMany people incorrectly credit this haunting slide guitar instrumental to Ritchie Valens.   The song appears in his bio-pic “La Bamba” starring Lou Diamond Phillips.   After the historic Febraury 3rd, 1959 plane crash that claimed the lives of Ritchie, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly, “Sleep Walk” plays over the dramatic final scene.  It’s such an emotional powerful moment that’s forever linked to this 50’s classic.  But “Sleep Walk” was actually recorded by two Italian-American brothers six month after the plane crash in 1959.   Santo and Johnny took the song to #1 and guitarists everywhere have been covering the song for years.   Leo Kottke, Jeff Beck, The Deftones, My Morning Jacket, Chet Atkins, Steve Howe, Les Paul, Carlos Santana, and even Joe Satriani have all released versions of “Sleep Walk”.   In 1998, the Brian Setzer Orchestra won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental forty years after it was written.

“SLEEP WALK” Brian Setzer Orchestra

“I WON’T STAND IN YOUR WAY”     The Stray Cats

Stray Cats Rant n RaveSpeaking of Brian Setzer, his 80’s rockabilly band, The Stray Cats, were known for their high octane hits like “Rock This Town” and “Sexy and 17”.    Their return to roots style helped kickstart a 80’s comeback for the rockabilly sound.   Even Neil Young jumped on the craze.   The Stray Cats took a wide left turn on their 4th album, “Rant n’ Rave”.   For the first time, the Massapequa rockers released an emotional ballad for their second single.  “I Won’t Stand In Your Way” cracked the Top 40 (hit #35) and remains one of those time capsule 80’s songs that takes you back in time.   Looking for something new?  This week, Brian Setzer just released a new CD called Rockabilly Riot! filled with nothing but fast paced originals.

Leave a Reply