|"Walk Right In"|
|Single by The Rooftop Singers|
|from the album Walk Right In|
|Gus Cannon, Hosea Woods|
|Erik Darling, Bill Svanoe|
|The Rooftop Singers singles chronology|
"Walk Right In" is the title of a country blues song written by musician Gus Cannon and originally recorded by Cannon's Jug Stompers in 1929, released on Victor Records, catalogue 38611. It was reissued on album in 1959 as a track on The Country Blues. A revised version of the song by the Rooftop Singers, with the writing credits allocated to group members Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe, became an international hit in 1963.
In 1962, the American folk trio the Rooftop Singers recorded a version of the song and released it as a single. The single spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1963. It spent five weeks atop the Easy Listening chart, which would later become known as the Adult Contemporary chart. In addition, "Walk Right In" reached both the R&B chart (peaking at number four) as well as the country music chart, peaking at number 23. The song reached number one in Australia on the Kent Music Report in 1963, and it made the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 10. The song was included on the album Walk Right In, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Folk Recording.
Group member Erik Darling recruited two friends to record a folk version of "Walk Right In" after hearing the original Cannon recording. Darling wanted the record to have a distinctive sound, so he and group member Bill Svanoe both played twelve string guitars on the song, although they had some difficulty in acquiring the instruments. Darling is quoted as saying that prior to the making of this record, "you couldn't buy a 12-string guitar...I ordered one from the Gibson Company, but in order to record [the song] with two 12-strings, we had to wait for the company to build a second one for Bill!" (a left-handed model). The success of the song was a boon to Cannon, who was in his late 70s and had been forced to pawn his banjo the previous winter to pay his heating bill; he received royalties as a songwriter and saw renewed interest in his music, which led to a recording contract of his own.
Other acts who have recorded or performed "Walk Right In" include Chet Atkins, the Brothers Four (1963), Sammy Davis, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Grant, Glen Campbell, Al Hirt,Jan & Dean, Janis Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Trini Lopez, the Johnny Mann Singers, Otis Taylor, Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Ventures, Dave Alvin, Yvonne Elliman, Les Humphries Singers, José Feliciano, and Dr. Hook. The Rooftop Singers 1963 version and Dr. Hook's 1977 version both achieved the number one position in Australia. The Rooftop Singers' version appears on the soundtrack to the Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump. Roger Branigin's campaign adapted the song en route to his eventual victory in the 1964 Indiana gubernatorial race.
The French singer, author and composer Claude François became famous on his debut, thanks to this song that he sang in French as "Marche tout droit". He had recorded previously, but had seemed doomed to never become famous. "Marche tout droit" was an important step for him on the path to success, which included composing the song, "Comme d'habitude", later world-famous as "My Way".