Who Sings Running Bear

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Running Bear is a 1959 song written by Jiles Perry Richardson, who was an influential Texas disc jockey known as "The Big Bopper." Richardson also has a hit song he wrote himself in 1958 "Chantilly Lace". A year later on February 3, 1959, he was reportedly killed in a plane crash which also claimed the lives of Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly.

Who Sings the song "Running Bear"

The first and original singer of the song "Running Bear" is Johnny Preston. Richardson offered Preston to record the song he had written, "Running Bear," they recorded this song in Houston, Texas, in 1958.

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The record was released after Richardson's death in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. In the US, this song was released about six months after his death, because it was delayed by legal constraints due to Richardson's death in the plane crash.

Rock and Roll is still in its infancy in the 50s, and the target audience is teenagers. Most of the songs at that time were about teenagers, like this one, the song often involved tragedy. In this song "Running Bear," tells the story of a young Indian brave who falls in love with a girl from a rival tribe across the river. At the end of the song, the couple swim to meet each other and after sharing a passionate kiss, they are pulled down by the swift current and drown.

The song was No. #1 for three weeks in January 1960 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Coincidentally, this song was immediately preceded in the Billboard Hot 100 No. #1 position by Marty Robbins' "El Paso." Billboard ranked "Running Bear" as the No. #4 song of 1960. On the UK Singles Chart, this song also reached No. #1 in 1960.

"Running Bear" was used in the 1994 movie A Simple Twist of Fate. The song also appears on the soundtrack of 1975's Crazy Mama, and, as performed by Ray Gelato.

In 1969, Sonny James covered this song. Released in April, James topped the Hot Country Singles charts in mid-June and spent three weeks at No. #1. The song soon was one of James' most popular recordings of his career.

Running Bear

Single By
Johnny Preston
From the Album
My Heart Knows
Release On
Songwriter (s) 
J. P. Richardson
Producer (s) 
Bill Hall
Song Durations
2:38 Minutes
Mercury Records
Folk Rock, Country

All Cover Versions

Running Bear - 1959
By Smiley Wilson
Running Bear - 1959
By Garry Mills
Running Bear - 1960
By Dick Jordan
Running Bear - 1960
By Mac Wiseman
Running Bear - 1960
By The Howard Morrison Quartet
Running Bear - 1960
By Billy O'Rourke with The Thunderbirds
Running Bear - 1961
By Pat Boone
Running Bear - 1962
By Dickey Lee
Running Bear - 1962
By George Jones
Running Bear - 1965
By The Five Emprees
Running Bear - 1968
By Bob Wills
Running Bear - 1969
By Sonny James
Running Bear - 1969
By Browning Bryant
Running Bear - 1970
By Louis Armstrong
Running Bear - 1972
By The Guess Who
Running Bear - 1972
By The Youngbloods
Running Bear - 1972
By Webb Brothers
Running Bear - 1973
By Tom Jones
Running Bear - 1974
By Don Fardon
Running Bear - 1974
By Mud [GB]
Running Bear - 1975
By The Rockin' Devils
Running Bear - 1977
By Lena Martell
Running Bear - 1977
By Little and Large
Running Bear - 1978
By Johnny and The Roccos
Running Bear - 1980
By Stiff Little Fingers
Running Bear - 1980
By Waterloo & Robinson
Running Bear - 1981
By Billy T. James
Running Bear - 1987
By Lindisfarne
Running Bear - 1998
By The Flametrick Subs
Running Bear - 2008
By Monica Dupont
Running Bear - 2012
By Ray Stevens
Running Bear - 2014
By Colin Mee

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A good singer uses words to tell a story through both words and emotion, his ability to get his message across in an emotional fashion is art!

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