Dionne Warwick

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Walk On By’

The song “Walk On By” was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1964.

The iconic and classic song “Walk On By” was written by multi-Academy Award winning songwriters Hal David (1921-2012) and Burt Bacharach (b.1928) in 1964 and recorded by Dionne Warwick (b.1940) as the lead single from her album “Make Way For Dionne Warwick”. It was a huge hit, peaking at No.6 in America and No.9 in the UK.

The song has been recorded by a precession of artists ever since including Isaac Hayes in 1969 (US No.30), The Stranglers In 1978 (UK No.21) and five times during the 1980’s. A notable version from this period came from a then unknown British singer by the name of Dina Carroll, who released an R&B/dance style version of the song in October 1989. This only reached No.95 on the UK singles chart and came two years before her breakout success with dance band Quartz on “It’s Too Late”.

In total, 62 artists and groups have recorded the song, but not all have been released as singles and many of them have hardly scratched the surface. One that did was US singer Sybil‘s version in January 1990, which was released by the hitmaking team Stock Aitken Waterman. The song made No.6 in the UK, at the time her highest charting position, and No.74 in the US, while it peaked at No.3 on the US R&B chart.

A more traditional version that paid a more than respectful nod to Warwick’s original came from British singer Gabrielle in 1997. This version, the fifth single lifted from her second, self-titled album of the previous year, reached No.7 on the UK chart as well as proving popular across much of Europe.

But which one is the best? DIONNE WARWICK’s original, SYBIL’s 1990 cover or GABRIELLE’s classy homage?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.

cover vs original

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