"Walk Away Renee" Performed by The Left Banke (1967) & The Four Tops (1968)

November 13, 2008


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#2 Pop

The Left Banke were a 1960s American pop-music group best remembered for their two hit singles, “Walk Away Renée” and “Pretty Ballerina”. The band often utilized what was referred to as “baroque” string arrangements, which led their music to be termed “Bach-rock”. Their use of harmonies saw them compared to contemporaries such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Zombies, and other British Invasion groups.  Rolling Stone has placed “Walk Away Renée” at number 220 in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (SOURCE)

Composed by teenage prodigy Michael Brown as keyboardist and chief songwriter, Bob Calilli and Tony Sansone, this song appeared on the group’s first album released in 1967 entitled “Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina”

You may read up on the group’s history, biography, discography, and more at “The Left Banke Fan Page”. Also of interest is “leftbanke.nu” with detailed session notes for the groups albums.


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#15 R&B, #14 Pop, #7 UK

The members of the Four Tops had been singing together ever since they were in high school. Their first label was Chess Records and they were called the Four Aims — but the label already had the Ames Brothers signed so their name was changed to the Four Tops.

Lead singer Levi Stubbs (a cousin of Jackie Wilson and brother of The Falcons’ Joe Stubbs), and group-mates Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton remained together for over four decades as the Four Tops – first leaving Chess for Motown and then creating history and an extraordinary body of work (with a few more label changes along the way0.

The Tops “Walk Away Rene” cover is outstanding IMHO and bests the original. It is from the Tops 1967 album release “Reach Out” which contained a mix of Holland-Dozier-Holland tunes and pop covers such as “Renee”, “If I were A Carpenter”, “Cherish”, etc.

Many others have covered this great tune, but I would love to hear which of these two hit versions YOU prefer?

Let’s keep this music alive.


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Filed under:Covers That Hit!,Michael Brown/Bob Calilli/Tony Sansone,Motown Covers Pop,Pop/R&B,Sixties,Smash division of Mercury,The Four Tops,The Left Banke,Walk Away Renee

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MarkH November 17, 2008 at 3:57 am

I had never heard the original, but I kinda like that bach-rock sound!

PS, love the blog!!


2 sondan November 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Hi Mark,

Yes, the original is pretty sweet. The Left Banke’s sound sort reminds me of that of the Zombies’. (You’d probably like them too if you aren’t already familiar with their work.)

I appreciate the compliment and hope you stick around to share the music with me. This music is too good to let die.

Talk with you soon.


3 geo January 8, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I prefer the third one, which is (by my opinion) better even than the original: Vonda Shepard’s version, from the soundtrack of ‘Ally McBeal’


4 sondan January 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hi Geo,

No fair! Vonda’s cover doesn’t count since the theme for this particular month was “Motown Covers Pop”. You gotta go with the original or the Motown cover so which will it be buddy? (LOL)

Seriously, thanks for expressing your opinion. I was aware of Vonda’s cover version. She also covered a lot of Motown stuff during the “Alley McBeal” run as I recall. Must be a favorite genre of hers.

Hope to see you around again soon.

BTW Your blog is nice. I just took around. I only know English though so I can read your text, but when I have some time I shall run a page or two through the translator.

Again, thanks for checking in here at OSML. I appreciate your visit.


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