Meaning of Remember (Walking in the Sand) by The Shangri-Las

“Oh no, oh no, oh no no no no no” don’t say you haven’t heard this line from the song Remember ( Walking in the Sand) that funny video compilers love so much. Advanced music lovers may be familiar with it in numerous versions with female and male vocals.

Do you remember the name of the track and its first artist? Let’s say we are talking about the composition Remember (Walking in the Sand), which was born in the sixties. The song was first recorded and made a hit by American schoolgirls from the girl group Shangri-Las.

The story of the creation of the song Remember ( Walking in the Sand)

The words and music were composed by George “Shadow” Morton at the dawn of his production career. He had just arrived in New York, where he frequented the studio of his girlfriend, the famous singer-songwriter Ellie Greenwich.

This attention to Ellie did not like Jeff Barry, partner and wife of Greenwich. He asked Morton to explain the reason for the daily visits. Shadow introduced himself as a songwriter and started talking about a creative collaboration with Ellie. Jeff was skeptical about this initiative and wanted to see examples of George’s work. Probably, this is how he hoped to get rid of the obsessive guest.

greenwich barry mortonEllie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, George Morton

Morton didn’t really have a single song, but he took Jeff’s offer as a personal challenge and took on his debut piece of music. In search of inspiration, he went to Long Island. George sat on the beach until dark, creating a future hit to the sound of the surf and the cries of seagulls. He added the finishing touches when he returned home.

Recording the song Remember

Calling the song Remember (Walking in the Sand), Morton began looking for an artist. The choice fell on the girl group The Shangri-Las from Queens. Its participants were two pairs of high school sisters. At that time they were fifteen or seventeen years old.

the shangri-las

Young Billy Joel took part in the recording of the song. His memories of the studio work on the composition will complement the story of Remember (Walking in the Sand):

When I was about fifteen years old, I met a guy at an Echoes concert. He asked if I would like to play the piano for the recording. So I go to this little Dynamic Studios in Levittown, in some guy’s basement, and they have printed sheet music. There are two songs: one is called Leader of the Pack, and the second is Remember (Walking in the Sand). It’s very easy stuff to play, but then Shadow comes in.

He is a very strange guy, this Shadow. He’s wearing a big cape and dark glasses, and he’s all in the producer’s persona. I think he was partial to Phil Spector. He wanted to be the East Coast Phil Spector. And he spoke in such crazy, dramatic, theatrical terms: he wanted more “thunder” and he wanted more “magenta” in the record. He waves his arms, saying, “Give me more purple.” And I’m sitting and a little nervous, because it’s my first time in a recording studio. I hiss at the other musicians, “What does this mean? How do I play purple? One guitarist leans in and says, “Oh, just play louder, man.”

So we recorded these songs in a couple of hours and the vocalists didn’t actually sing with us. We just made backing tracks and I wasn’t even sure who they were for. When I heard Remember (Walking in the Sand) by The Shangri-Las on the radio, I thought, “Wait a minute, that’s me.” And the guys from the group asked: “How much did you get paid?”. And I didn’t get paid at all. What could I know. I think Shadow got guys like me together to save money.

Q, 1987

After listening to the recording, Jeff Barry saw it as a hit. Morton and the parents of the underage members of The Shangri-Las were signed by Red Bird Records.

Release and achievements

In August 1964, Remember (Walking in the Sand) was released as a single with It’s Easier to Cry on the back of the record. The song climbed to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number fourteen in the UK charts.

She later entered the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone) and 100 Greatest Girl Group Sons of All Time (Billboard).

Remember (Walking in the Sand) has been covered by The Beach Boys, The Go-Go’s, Amy Winehouse, Jeff Beck with Imelda May and other musicians.

In 1980, an Aerosmith cover hit the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian charts.

Interesting Facts

  • Contrary to popular belief, the seagulls in the song were not recorded on the beach. Morton said that they were created in the studio.
  • Aerosmith’s recording of Remember (Walking in the Sand) featured Mary Weiss of The Shangri-Las.

Remember (Walking in the Sand) Lyrics

Seems like the other day
My baby went away
He went away cross the sea
It’s been two years or so
Since I saw my baby go
And then this letter came for me
He said that we were through
He’s found somebody new (who?)
Let me think, let me think
What can I do?

Oh no
Oh no
Oh no no no no no
Remember walking in the sand
Remember walking hand in hand
Remember, the night was so exciting
Remember, her smile was so inviting
Remember, then she touched my cheek
Remember, with her fingertips
Remember, softly
Softly we met with a kiss

What ever happened to
The boy that I once knew?
The boy who said he’d be true
Oh what happened to
The light I gave to you
What will I do with it now?


Remember (Walking in the Sand) Lyrics Alternative

Seems like one of these days
My baby left me
He sailed across the sea
It’s been two years or so
Ever since my baby left
And then a letter came
He said it’s over between us
He found someone else (who?)
Let me think, let me think
What should I do?

Oh no,
Oh no,
Oh no-no-no-no-no
I remember how we walked on the sand
I remember how we walked holding hands
I remember how amazing the night was
I remember how his smile beckoned
I remember how he touched my cheek
I remember with my fingertips
I remember gently
We merged in a tender kiss

What happened
With a guy I knew?
With a guy who promised to be true
Oh what happened
With the light that I gave him
What should I do with it now?


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