Trying to keep things ticking over here with a few short but hopefully sweet top fives. I've been getting into Jonathan Richman recently and it's his Roadrunner song, combined with a bit of iPod shuffling happenstance, that got me thinking about the number of similarly titled tunes. There were less than I thought (most tunes are covers of either Jonathan Richman or Bo Diddly) but in the end just enough.
1. "Roadrunner" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers (1972) - The recording history of this track is a little convoluted. Originally recorded in 1972 with John Cale producing it was recorded again the same year with Kim Fowley in control. The Cale version eventually saw the light of day in 1976, the Fowley version(s) in 1981. Either way it's a corking song that has been covered by everyone from Yo La Tengo to the Sex Pistols.
2. "Road Runner" The Fabulous Wailers (1959) - This is a brilliant instrumental from their essential album The Fabulous Wailers - Original Golden Crest Masters. Allmusic suggest this was co-written by Bo Diddley AND Jonathan Richman, which seems unlikely. It came out the year before Bo's song and, whilst my ear for a similar tune is not the best, this is absolutely a Wailers original.
3. "Road Runner" Bo Diddley (1960) - Bo Diddley's 12-Bar blues was originally released as a single in January 1960 and has been covered almost as often as Richman's tune. A hot rod revving style slide intro kicks things off before giving way to a typical piece of Diddley riffing. The video was shot at Wembley Stadium in the seventies and there's some great crowd shots featuring both Rockers and Teds.
4. "(I'm a) Road Runner" Junior Walker & The Allstars (1966) - Junior Walker had his biggest hit with this Motown single written by the super prolific Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland.
5. "Roadrunner" Papa M (1999) - Bringing up the rear, but still a fine piece of music, is David Pajo's song recorded during his Papa M phase (he changes moniker more often than I change jeans) and released on the excellent album Live From A Shark Cage.