I'm Walking

Album: Here Stands Fats Domino (1957)
Charted: 19 4


  • This song was inspired by a comment a fan made to Fats Domino after Domino's car broke down: "Hey, look at Fats Domino, he's walking!" Domino then thought to himself, "Yeah, I'm walking," and wrote the song as he walked.

    At least that's the story that has followed this song around for decades. Domino rarely gave interviews, so it's possible that someone (perhaps to promote the track) made up the story and gave it to the press. Domino did have a penchant for beat-up cars though: in 1950 Charlie Armstead, the owner of Club Desire in New Orleans, gave Fats an old Buick to lure him away from a competing club, the Hideaway.
  • Running a tidy 2:05, this song is an example of what Domino strove for: "Happy songs the people could remember." Anyone who has heard the song can likely repeat the first line, as it clearly sticks in your head: "I'm walkin', yes indeed, and I'm talkin'."
  • The song is about a guy who is really lonely now that his girl has left him. He hopes she will return once she sees what it's like without him.

    It's not a happy sentiment by any means, but the story is secondary in this song, which is driven by the rollicking melody. The title also has nothing to do with the rest of the lyric, but makes a convenient rhyme scheme, since he can also be "talkin'." When Domino performed it, he often beamed a smile from his piano, unconcerned about the lyrical dissonance.
  • Domino wrote this song with Dave Bartholomew, a fellow New Orleans musician who did a lot of work arranging and composing songs for Fats.
  • This is the song that launched the music career of Ricky Nelson, who had 34 Top 40 hits in the US between 1957-1964. Nelson was starred with his real-life parents on the popular TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran 1952-1966 on ABC. According to Nelson's biographer Philip Bashe, Ricky got the urge to record when he was 16 years old and on a date with a girl who told him how much she loved Elvis, prompting Ricky to tell her Elvis wasn't that special and that he was going to make his own record. After a few years pestering his dad, Ricky convinced Ozzie - who was a popular band leader in the '30s - to let him record this Fats Domino song, which contained the only two chords he knew how to play. It became a surprise hit, equaling Domino's #4 chart placing after he performed it on the family TV series, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
  • The Ricky Nelson version was released just a few months after Domino's. The original reached #4 US in April 1957, and Nelson's cover followed in that same chart position in June. It wasn't the first time a white singer had quickly covered a Domino tune: In 1955, Pat Boone recorded "Ain't That A Shame" soon after Domino released the song. Boone's version went to #1, which Domino's stalled at #10.
  • Domino recorded for Imperial Records, the label that signed Ricky Nelson after his cover of this song took off. Nelson's version was released on the Verve label.
  • The saxophone solo on this song runs 33 seconds, taking up about a quarter of the song. It was played by Herbert Hardesty, who appears on several Fats Domino tracks, including "Ain't That A Shame."
  • Earl Palmer was the drummer on this track - he played on many New Orleans sessions for Domino and also Little Richard. The drum pattern requires some serious dexterity, confounding lesser stickmen who attempt it.
  • At baseball games, this is often played when a player for the home team draws a walk.

Comments: 7

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 1st 1957, Ricky Nelson appeared on the NBC-TV music variety special 'Five Stars* for Springtime'...
    At the time he had two records on Billboard's Top 100 chart; "A Teenager’s Romance" was at #13, while the record's flip-side, "I'm Walkin'", was at #17...
    "A Teenager’s Romance" would peak at #8 on the Top 100; while #17 was the peak position for "I'm Walkin'"...
    * The four other 'Stars' that appeared on the special were Gordon McRae, Patti Page, Nat 'King' Cole, and Andy Williams.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 10th 1957, Ricky Nelson performed his covered version of "I'm Walkin'" on the ABC-TV weekly sitcom 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet'*; it was the first time he sang on his parent's TV show...
    Just under a month later on May 6th, 1957 the song entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #52, actually it was tied at #52 with Ivory Joe Hunter's "Empty Arms"...
    And on May 23rd, 1957 it would peak at #4 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Best Sellers in Stores chart...
    The following week it was at #2, but not as a solo, it shared the runner-up spot with the record's flip-side, "Teenages' Romance"...
    The week Ricky's "I'm Walkin'" was at #4, Fats Domino's original version was at #33 on the Top 100 chart...
    * Interestingly enough, the episode was called 'Ricky the Drummer'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 22th 1958, the Alan Freed rock' n roll movie 'The Big Beat' had its world premier in Detroit, MI...
    Fats Domino appeared in the movie, and performed "I'm Walkin'", one year earlier on March 3rd, 1957 it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #4 and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 (25 weeks)...
    And on March 23rd, 1957 it reached #1 (for 6 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Was the third in a string of four straight Top 10 hits on the Top 100 by Fats; started with "Blueberry Hill" (#2 for 3 weeks), "Blue Monday" (#5), this one, and finally "Valley of Tears (#6)...
    Mr. Domino, born Antoine Domino Jr., will celebrate his 86th birthday in four days on February 26th (2014).
  • Randy from Fayettevile, ArThis is a great hit for Fats from 1957. I was ten years old and had listening to rock & roll for a few years by then and just loved the R&B connection. I became a Fats Domino fan too. "I'm Walking" was even recorded by Ricky Nelson, but never preferred his version of the song because it just sounds so "anemic." Fats' original has such a great beat and great tempo to it. Why accept less than the original?
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkThis was a great hit for Fats in 1957. In my area of Oklahoma in 1957 it went to #1. Billboard magazine has it at #4, but back then most teen rock fans preferred watching the music charts of their favorite AM radio stations. I know---I was a rock-crazed teenager back then. And I didn't ever hear Ricky Nelson's version of Fats' hit. I never heard Nelson's record on any radio stations in my region at all. Besides, back then the original was the best. I am surprised that Song Facts' site doesn't have more of Fats Domino's hits because he had a very long string of hits. "I'm Walking" has a great rhythm feeling to it that only Fats can give it. After hearing Ricky Nelson's version, I must say that Fats' original wins hands-down! This is true rhythm & blues and rock & roll.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe flip-side of "I'm Walking" was titled "I'm In The Mood For Love", an old standard from 1935. Fats did a great job with this song!!!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI've never heard Ricky Nelson's version, but I like the original a lot. I didn't even know his version existed until I heard it on the radio a few weeks ago. I'm 17 years old, and don't know much of that kind of music. I really like it though.
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