Walk Away Renee was clearly the biggest hit for a New York City band called The Left Banke. The lead singer is named Steve Martin, but it’s not the noted comedian. The song reached #5 on the Billboard charts in 1966, made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame list, and is #220 on the Rolling Stone top 500 list. Listen to it HERE.
It was covered by the legendary Motown group The Four Tops, with the great lead singer Levi Stubbs. The recording went to #14 on the pop charts and #15 on the rhythm & blues charts. Listen to it HERE.
When I worked at FantaCo in the 1980s, my boss Tom and I were big fans of the then-current cop drama Hill Street Blues. At one point, Officer Bobby Hill (Michael Warren, pictured) – not to be confused with the kid on the animated program King of the Hill – mentioned liking Walk Away Renee, and said that it came out in 1968. We theorized that this was not an error on the part of the writers, but that Bobby listened to the black radio stations in his youth and was familiar only with the Four Tops version, not the original.
Love this parody of the New Titan Titans #1 in MAD magazine #507, but I wonder how many of the MAD readers know the 30-year-old comic cover well enough to truly appreciate the takeoff.