Run-Around

Album: Four (1994)
Charted: 8

Songfacts®:

  • Blues Traveler frontman John Popper was caught in the "friend zone" with the band's original bass player, Felicia Lewis, when he wrote this song. The group's guitarist, Chan Kinchla, told the story in a 2012 Songfacts interview: "The song's an unrequited love song about John and our original bass player, Felicia, who he kind of had a crush on. She was actually classically trained as a violinist, and she was just playing bass for fun because she was friends with everyone."

    Kinchla says that Felicia was a great student and eventually became a doctor - her calling was medicine, not music. When Bobby Sheehan was ready to take over on bass, Felicia stepped aside. Says Kinchla, "It's a very amicable situation. John always had kind of a crush on her, but they were friends, as well. So that song's from that whole affair. They're still very close. It's just an unrequited love song."
  • This was the first hit for Blues Traveler, and it shot them to stardom after seven years of touring and three previous albums. All that touring primed the band for their success, and they did very well on the many TV appearances they earned as a result of this song. In particular, David Letterman became a huge fan and had the band on several times, often bantering with John Popper during the show.
  • Pure pop songs were hard to find in 1994, since so much popular music contained elements of grunge or hip-hop. Top 40 radio stations trying to stay in the middle embraced this song along with offerings from other newly discovered but refined acts like Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Sheryl Crow. Once the song gained some traction, it hung around for a while - it stayed on the US Hot 100 for 49 consecutive weeks, which was a record at the time.
  • In 1995, Blues Traveler performed this on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. They were asked to go on when Prince canceled.
  • This won the 1995 Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
  • Blues Traveler followed up this song with "Hook," which was another hit. That was their last visit to the Hot 100, but their fleeting popularity gave them a substantially larger fan base. Their next album, Straight On till Morning, contains a song called "Most Precarious," which sounds precariously similar to "Run-Around."
  • The first line in this song is a play on the opening lines of the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote:

    Once upon a midnight dreary
    I woke with something in my head


    In "Run-Around," the line is, "Once upon a midnight dearie..." so he is addressing the girl. John Popper often puts allusions to famous works in his lyrics.
  • There were some rumors that this song is about Spin Doctors lead singer Chris Barron. This isn't true, although Barron did play some gigs with Blues Traveler when they were starting out.
  • Chuck Leavell played keyboards on this track. He is best known for his work with The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers.
  • If you go to a Blues Traveler concert, there's a good chance you will hear this song. Chan Kinchla told Songfacts in 2012: "When people come to the show they're expecting to hear some of the hits, and we don't want to be the band that's too cool to play them. I really can't not like 'Run-Around' or 'Hook,' because they helped pay for my house. The way we look at it with a song, if you're bored and played out in the song, it's really your own fault. Especially the way we play - you take in the environment and the feel and the vibe, and there are some things you can do to keep it fresh. So that's really up to you to keep yourself into it."
  • The production/DJ duo Gunslinger did an electronic remix of this song that was released on the Blues Traveler: 25 collection.

Comments: 14

  • Jim from St. Charles, MoThe harmonica apparently has some limitations. Harmonica parts have a lot of notes that sound a half-step out of scale quite frequently.....
  • Brian from Boston, MaThis is a really good song. On my I pod I tend to play a lot of 90's songs and this one is among them. This is off the album Four by Blues Traveler also anothe good 90's album.I could go on a rant here but I'll keep it short. The 90's were the last great decade of music. For someone like me who likes guitar oriented music the crap that passes for music today disgusts me . I have no use for D.J.s scratching records while a group of slutty dancers perform to pre recorded music . Call me crazy but I admire musicians that actually know how to play instruments. Anyway this song is pretty easy to play on guitar. Four chords G, C ,A minor and D throughout the entire song.
  • Stacy from St. Louis, MoCaitlin, he wasn't "put" behind the curtain. I saw him in an interview and he explained that they (Blue's Traveler) did that on purpose to make a point about how certain people are put in front of audiences simply because they fit stereotypical standards of attractiveness (kind of like Milli Vanilli).
  • Kyle from Columbia, MoI saw them in Concert at Jessie Hall. The place wasn't full at all. When Popper came out on stage, he looked around and said, "Alright, everyone forget about those seats and just come on up to the stage." Great concert.
  • Cameron from Austin, Txanyone see John Popper latley? he's lost over two hundred pounds!
  • Natasha from Oklahoma City, OkI started listening to popular radio during the year of 94 but i never heard this or their other song "Hook" but I did start hearing them both during summer of 96...did it just take those two songs a long time to catch popularity?
  • Anna from Aiken, ScThis song came out when I was four years old and has pretty much been stuck in my head ever since. I only recently found out what it was called and who performed it (apparently, I was not a very musically aware four year old), and immediately went out and bought it. Playing it five hundred times seems to be the only way to get it out of my head. I adore the harmonica, it's divine.
  • Mike from Warwick, RiI saw these guys live in 1995 playing the Fox Theater, Atlanta for Chinese New Year. We were front row and blown away by John's size and ability to play the harmonica. They blew it out on this song.
  • Caitlin from Sailsbury, Nci saw them in concert!
  • Meagan from Baton Rouge, Lamy brother got me into blues traveler and i actually wanted to play the harmonica because of john popper but i give up too easily so it wouldnt work out. its a great song also and i agree that john popper is the man i even know someone who named a cat after him. popper is actually a good cats name. hehe. o well and i really love all their music and think this band is way too unknown and that alot more people should know about it and id love to go to the fourth of july concert in colorodo i think it is on red rock but of course i am no atlas what do i know. and i really lve the song sweet pain its really beautiful.
  • John from Millersville, MdAwesome song. Will, I love your hendrix/entwhistle analogy. It's so true! Popper is the man.
  • Robert from Chicago, IlI love this song, I went on a bad blind date,And the girl had no interest in me at all, My buddy who set me up kept humoring and telling me she did. She left me a voicemail, saying she wasn't in to me. Everytime I hear this song I laugh, Because I know how john popper feels in this song.
  • Caitlin from Sailsbury, Nci hate the video for this song it makes me feel bad because they put him behind the curtin
  • Will from Mcallen , Txi love john popper. hes to the harmonica what jimmy hendrix is to the guitar or john entwhistle is to the bass. and hes a great singer too. keep it up john.
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