This was written by band member Michael Brown, who was 16 at the time, with help from his friends Bob Calilli and Tony Sansone. Brown wrote it after meeting Renee Fladen, the girlfriend of the band's bass player.
Renee Fladen was in the control room when Michael Brown tried to record his harpsichord part. He later said in an interview that he was so nervous trying to play with the beautiful Renee present that his hands were shaking. In the end he gave up and returned later when he recorded it without any problem.
The line "Just walk away Renee" is often misinterpreted as "Don't walk away Renee." The singer has decided that Renee will never return his affections and is better off with her out of his life.
The idea of using a girl's name in the title was inspired by The Beatles "Michelle
This was the first hit for The Left Banke. They had another a year later with "Pretty Ballerina," which was also inspired by Renee.
In 1969, this was a #3 UK hit for The Four Tops. The Left Banke's original version never charted in England.