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 us the story in our 2012 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 doctor - her calling was medicine, not music. When Bobby Sheehan was ready to take over on bass, Felicia stepped aside. Says Chan, "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 by 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 chart 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
contained a song called "Most Precarious," which sounded precariously similar to "Run-Around."
The first line in this song is a play on part of the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote: "Once upon a midnight dreary, I woke with something in my head."
In this song, 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 us 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 release on the Blues Traveler: 25