I'm not in good shape, and I don't know if I ever will be. I do enjoy several physical activities, though. One of those activities is walking. It started a few years ago for me. I had gone down to part-time and I was looking for things to do on my days off. I decided to get into walking. Now, I go for at least one walk a week. The town I live in is pretty nice, even if it is dull activity-wise.

As I walk, I find that I need music to help me along. I don't know why, though. Maybe it's because the beat propels me along, or maybe it's because it inspires my writing, or maybe it's my homage to the idea of the movie montage, but music has always helped me as I walk.

I would now like to talk about some of my favorite songs to listen to when walking.

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I'll start off with a track by a woman who has consistently acted in energetic ways throughout her career. That woman is Madonna.



Her self-titled album from 1983 is loaded with powerfully danceable tracks that can really get you moving. The track that I find most suitable for walking is "Think Of Me". The beeping that starts off the track leads into a great synth-line and then those vocals kick in. The song is physical in that, to my ears, it entitles a lot of walking in and out of the lives of Madonna and her lover. As I walk, I can get the top half of my body into the act as well, swinging my head back and forth and making movements with my hands like waves and pointing gestures. I can get the whole operation moving with her music. There are plenty of other Madonna tracks that could go here, but this is what came to mind.

The next track I can think of has a different beat to it, but is great for walking to nevertheless.

It comes off the album "Come As You Are" by Peter Wolf.



The track is a James Brown-sounding track called "Thick As Thieves". The instrumental section provides a great charge to the feet, with a wailing horn section and a bass line that can charge through you like an electrical current.

The song has aspects of walking as well. The track is about Wolf's distress with people who want to take him for all he has...His money, his soul, his life. I think the first verse can really get your walk going:

"Butchers walking down the street,
(Thick as thieves, thick as thieves!).
Thinking I'm a piece of meat,
(Thick as thieves, thick as thieves!),
Like to hang me on a hook,
Cut me up and call the cook,
Keep them bastards 'way from me,
I'm getting sick of thieves!".

Constantly moving to get away from all the disturbances in your life...Sometimes that's what I'm about when I'm walking. When you get down to it, though, aren't we all trying to get away from our disturbances?

The next track that comes to mind as great for walking is the song "Tip Of My Tongue" by The Tubes.



The song has a walking quality to it...Actually, more like a strut. The horns, guitars and synths work together to create a blue-eyed soul piece that can accompany walking well. The song itself isn't about walking, though...It's actually about something far more risque, but I can imagine lead singer Fee Waybill strutting through town in order to get to what the song is about. Let's just say that, if this were the 80s, it would probably involve a woman who looked like this:



It was the style of the 80s, so please don't knock it, alright?

Now the horns come in again for a song with a more nihilistic bent to it.

It's the title track of Oingo Boingo's 1982 album "Nothing To Fear".



The type of walk that goes with this is a walk of apocalypse. Have you ever had one of those days where everything about you says "People are Hell...The buildings are Hell...Everything is Hell"? I've had days like that, and I've walked with eyes furrowed and looking straight ahead. I can feel a sense of anger within myself. It eventually subsides, but I can hear it mimicked in Danny Elfman's hyper-kinetic vocals and the group's instrumentation. Danny is sounding like the town crier for the coming darkness...I occasionally feel that way, too, but more often than not, I usually sound like the village idiot.

On a lighter note, I think that "Once In A Lifetime" by Talking Heads is a great track for walking to.



Of course, the walking is best demonstrated in the video for the song. In the video, David Byrne looks like Jerry Lewis' arty younger brother as he's preaching a strange sermon about a man's expectations of the world.



Throughout the video, with the use of visual effects, we see lots of Byrne clones walking around in a rather bizarre manner with affectations of The Monkey done in a rather slow way. I don't walk like that, though. My walk for this song is done in a confident manner. I listen to this song, and there's a refreshing feel to it that can be reflected in my steps. Your mind-set can not only define your day, but your walk as well.

As explored in previous articles, mind-set can help define your age as well. A movie about age provided me with the next song on my list. From the movie "Cocoon" came the track "Gravity" by Michael Sembello.



In the movie, the song is used as a background for a sequence that shows the older actors engaging in the behaviors of the younger, from playing in toy stores to dancing the (then) current steps. These people are able to walk again in a sturdier manner than their ages may suggest.

Sometimes I feel a little too old as well, but a song like this can get my blood flowing as I walk around the blocks.

My town is pretty nice, and I can connect walking, a restaurant in my town and a song all at once.

In 2006, on a day off, I was walking around town with one of my mix discs. The track I was listening to was "The Lucky One' by Laura Branigan.



Branigan's tracks always had a great charge to them that inspires my walking. The rhythm gets me to moving like I'm in a montage from an 80s movie. This song has those qualities. You listen to this and you're out and about, striving to meet the challenges of what's going on and trying to keep your head above water. That's how it's always felt for me whenever I've been out and about. On this particular day that I was listening to this track, I was walking all about, up this street, down that one, across near the fire department building. I then went to the local Subway restaurant.



I always read on other message boards how people connect food to memories, and this is the restaurant I connect to this memory. It wasn't a big day...Nothing important happened. It was just an average day, lifted by an above-average sandwich and a superb song by a wonderfully talented singer. Why did she have to die? Why couldn't a mass murderer or a rapist have died in her place? You know, someone who actually deserved to die? Ms. Branigan didn't deserve to die...I wish she was still around. She could probably be making some pretty good music today if she lived.

These are 7 tracks that I feel are great for walking to. One track for each day of the week. Burn them together and see what you can do with your walking.

Have a good day!