Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast by Wayne Newton (Chelsea, 1972)

People wonder and ask why Wayne Newton is so famous. I don’t know what to tell them. I have no idea why. But he is famous. He’s had a 50 year career and his name is synonymous with Vegas. It’s almost sacrilege to visit that desert town and not see one of his shows. There’s a street there named after him. He is Mr. Vegas. He’s made many TV & film appearances almost always playing himself or a version there of. Though he’s only had 4 Top 40 hits, he placed one in the 60s, 70s & 80s. Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast was his biggest and only Top 10, reaching #4 in 1972. And it’s hysterical.

Daddy…(Aka The party’s over. Get out of my house.) is custom made for a cheesy over-the-top show spectacle, when you need to take a break from the slot machines sucking down your quarters. (It’s also an inspired move for anyone to perform at karaoke.) The song doesn’t just tug on the heart strings, it yanks on them until Wayne is holding your purple in his sweaty multi-ringed fingers. And at a time when divorces rates were rising, lots of kids could relate to the chorus sung from Wayne’s little girl’s point of view. Only 4 months after this song peaked, Papa Was A Rolling Stone was #1. Happy Father’s Day!

What makes this 7″ slice of cheddar so irresistibly bad is how ludicrous the lyrics are. Let’s break it down:

The love between the two of us was dying
And it got so bad I knew I had to leave

Ok, so Wayne digs in with the Woe Is Me schtick. You see things aren’t working out, so he, being the more mature adult, decides that he has to leave, hinting that he would stay, but mommy wants me gone. Get it little girl? It’s mommy’s fault.

But halfway down that highway when I turned around I saw
My little daughter running after me

Halfway down the highway? How long is this highway? 500 feet? Or is she superhuman? Is she Forrest Gump? And much did you care if you only looked back once you were halfway down the highway? My point being, rather than right a dramatic song, the lyricist are already using exaggerations to build drama, such as…

Crying, daddy, don’t you walk so fast
Daddy, don’t you walk so fast
Daddy, slow down some. ‘Cause you’re makin’ me run
Daddy, don’t you walk so fast

Oh Lord…Unless she’s a cheetah, or Wayne is driving a Pinto, how the hell did she even catch up to him? Slow down some? Daddy could you slow down to a screeching halt and I’ll run like a coked-out Jim Fixx.

Now it broke my heart to tell my little daughter
That her daddy had to run to catch a train

Wait, now Wayne’s on foot or what’s going on here? If you’re already in a car, why do you need to catch a train? Did the first verse actually happen or not? Or is Wayne recounting when he tried to get away for a second time?

She had no way of knowin’ I was leavin’ home for good

Except for the fact you drove off and ran off or whatever you did at a sloth speed…

I turned around and there she was again

That’s getting a little freaky. Now I’m wondering if Wayne should leave. Is your kid Damien or something? Nope, the chorus, brought to you by Kraft…

If only for the sake of my sweet daughter
I just had to turn back home right there and then

Or were you afraid she’d shoot lasers from her eyes?

And try to start a new life with the mother of my child

Aha! I get it. You’re not even married to this chic, so it’s on to a new town, new life…

I couldn’t bear to hear those words again

But you’re guilted into staying. That’s going to be a fun family Christmas.

I dare you to listen to the whole song. And if this song hits home for you, I would stay away from Vegas. And that’s where this song should have stayed.

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3 Comments

  1. Michel

     /  April 17, 2012

    This is very cheesy…maybe the cheesiest. But the song is a man who WALKS away (sez so in the title), probably walking along the highway shoulder. Dig your site, I was young when this music came out, the soundtrack of my pre-puberty self.

    Reply
  2. This song might not be to your standards but for a child then and years later, it has a profound effect on the one listening to it. Just because you don’t find the rhythm or reason to it doesn’t mean that the song isn’t telling the feeling of that child’s feeling. Children are mixed up and things don’t make sense when they’re parent Mom or Dad is leaving them behind. And yes it does take multiple times sometimes for a parent to leave for the last time. Learn before you talk about something you obviously don’t know anything about. At least I pray that you don’t.

    Reply
  1. My Ding-A-Ling by Chuck Berry (Chess, 1972) « 7 Inches of 70s Pop

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