A song written by Michael Brown
), Bob Calilli
and Tony Sansone
of The Left Banke
. Walk Away Renee was released as a single by Mercury
in 1966 and reached number 5 on the pop charts. The song has been covered by The Four Tops
, Billy Bragg
, Southside Johnny
and Rickie Lee Jones
, among others.
Michael Brown composed the melody as a 16 year-old, inspired by his love for Renee Fladen, the girlfriend of Banke bandmate Tom Finn (Fladen also inspired Brown to compose Left Banke songs She May Call You Up Tonight and Pretty Ballerina). Sansone's lyrics use images from his Bronx childhood to evoke the ache and longing of lost/unrequited love.
Walk Away Renee was ranked 82 in Rolling Stone's Best Singles of 1964-1989, and 56 in Mojo's 100 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
Billy Bragg's cover was originally released as a b-side to Levi Stubbs' Tears; it was re-released on the b-sides/rarities comp Reaching For The Converted. It features a Billy Bragg monologue accompanied by Johnny Marr strumming the original version's melody on an acoustic guitar.