"Run-Around" is a song by American jam band Blues Traveler, featured on the 1994 album four. Blues Traveler won their first Grammy Award for the song in 1995. The song was the band's breakthrough hit, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Run-Around" debuted on June 24, 1993 during a solo show featuring Blues Traveler frontman John Popper. The first full band performance of the song took place the next time it was played, February 21, 1994. The 1994 show was significant because it took place at the famous CBGB's and the show introduced a number of songs that were to be on their next album, Four.
The song is believed to be about an argument John Popper has with a female friend of his. She was also the subject of a later song, "Felicia". The song is also suspected to be about John Popper's relationship with Spin Doctors' frontman Chris Barron at the height of their fame. The evidence being the lyrics "a trusted friend" as well as "it doesn't have to rhyme". Barron is notorious for his clever rhyming.
The song was originally sung a lot slower than it is today. This is because it is written as more of a depressed song, but it was sped up before it was recorded. Starting in late 1998, the band began experimenting with a different sound. This new version of the song, referred to as "Fucked Run," brings out the depressed and slower side of the song that Popper felt when it was written. However, when this version is performed it always segues into another song. The last half of the song is sung as the normal version.
In Blues Traveler's live shows, "Run-Around" has been played nearly 655 times (as of 05/12/2007) which is roughly 59% of the shows since its debut. The song includes many references, including those to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"; Matthew 7:7; Psalm 23; and Ritchie Valens. While part of the third verse was recorded as "I shall drink in and always be full / yeah I will drink in and always be full," they were originally written as "I shall drink in and always be full / My cup shall always be full." When performed live, the original lyrics are always used.
Although the video for this song shows a Kansas driver's license, the license shown was not the current design but instead the design the state used in the mid to late 1980s.
The song reached #76 in VH1'S 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's.