Walk Away Renee - The Left Banke





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Published on Sep 3, 2009

The song is one of a number Brown wrote about Renee Fladen-Kamm, then-girlfriend of The Left Banke's bassist Tom Finn and object of Brown's affection. She was associated with the band for a few weeks, and described as a free-spirited and quite tall blonde. The song was written one month after Brown met her. "Walk Away Renée" was one of series of love songs the infatuated Brown wrote after meeting his newfound muse. Other songs written about her include the band's second hit "Pretty Ballerina" and "She May Call You Up Tonight". After decades of obscurity, she was identified in 2001 as a noted singer, vocal teacher and artist on the West Coast.

Brown says of his unrequited love for Renée: "I was just sort of mythologically in love, if you know what I mean, without having evidence in fact or in deed...But I was as close as anybody could be to the real thing"

Fladen-Kamm was looking on during the recording of the song, and her presence nearly prevented its completion. In an interview, Brown stated: "My hands were shaking when I tried to play, because she was right there in the control room," he says. "There was no way I could do it with her around, so I came back and did it later."

The Left Banke was a 1960s American pop-music group best remembered for its two hit singles, "Walk Away Renée" and "Pretty Ballerina". The band often utilized what was referred to as "baroque" string arrangements, which led its music to be termed "Bach-rock". The band's use of harmonies saw it compared to contemporaries such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Zombies, and other British Invasion groups. In 2004, Rolling Stone placed "Walk Away Renée" at number 220 in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Walk Away Renée" is a song made popular by the band The Left Banke in 1966 (single release: July 1966, Smash Records, title printed as "Walk Away Renee"), composed by the group's then 16-year-old keyboard player Michael Brown (real name Michael Lookofsky) and Tony Sansone. Bob Calilli is also credited as a writer, though he didn't actually write any of the lyrics or music - he received credit in exchange for setting up the session in which the writing stage of the song was completed.[citation needed] The song was also a chart hit for the Motown group The Four Tops in 1968.

The song features a flute being played during the instrumental portion of the middle portion of the song. Michael Brown got the idea for the flute solo from The Mamas & the Papas song "California Dreamin'" which had been recorded in November 1965 but wasn't a hit and in heavy rotation until early 1966. The song also includes a lush Obbligato string orchestration, memorable harpsichord accompaniment, and a falling chromatic bass melody which led critics to refer to the group's sound as Baroque pop, "Bach-Rock" or Baroque n Roll.

Rolling Stone placed the song at number 220 in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.After its initial release, it spent thirteen weeks on the charts with a top spot at #5. It has been widely covered by artists in a wide range of genres and styles, often with great success. For example, Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy recently covered the song on their album Adieu False Heart. The New York Times' reviewer Jon Pareles stated of their cover version that:

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

  • Writers

    • Bob Calilli, Tony Sansone, Michael Brown
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG; CMRRA, BMG Rights Management, UBEM, ARESA, Audiam (Publishing), PEDL, UMPI, and 10 Music Rights Societies


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