“There was this one song you played- what is called again?”

At almost every gig I play, someone (usually a gentleman of a certain age) comes up afterwards and asks, in the vaguest terms possible, about “this one song you played, it’s kind of slow, and I know I’ve heard it, but . . .”  But the answer is always the same: “Sleep Walk.”  In 1959, brothers Santo and Johnny Farina released the instrumental, which was the last number one charting instrumental of the ’50’s. The pair grew up among Italian-Americans in Brooklyn, and most of their peers favored doo-wop over the steel guitar, with its country and Hawaiian associations. Santo, who was 20, had no interest in anything but psantojohnny_seven45rpm_01laying the occasional weekend gig. His 16-year-old brother, Johnny, saw the potential of the song, and pushed the duo into a recording deal. The song became a runaway hit, and DJ Alan Freed declared “This thing will live forever.” And so far, he’s right. The song’s been covered over and over, with Brian Setzer’s cover winning a Grammy. Covers are great, but there’s nothing like the original. Here Dick Clark introduces: youtu.be/2rwfqsjimRM

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