Our Top 10 Run-D.M.C. Songs list looks at the best Run-D.M.C. Songs from one of rap and hip hop’s most pioneering musical groups. You do not have to be a fan of rap music or hip-hop music to be a fan of Run-D.M.C. If you grew up in the 1980s as a kid, teenager or 20-something, odds are your probably a huge fan of this amazing group. There is no doubt that rap music and hip-hop music was severely influenced by the music of Run-D.M.C. They were the first to hit the big time. Of course they were other artists that were exploring hip-hop and rap before Run-D.M.C. came along, but Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell took the genre and turned it into a mass cultural success.
Hailing from the section of Hollis in the Borough of Queens, New York, Run-D.M.C. offered a genuine authentic representation of the streets of New York City. Anyone who’s grown up in New York City can tell you it’s the borough’s such as Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx that really represents the urban lifestyle of New York City. Manhattan is a very different place from the boroughs of Queens, The Bronx and Brooklyn. Believe me, I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx so I know what I’m talkin about.
Run-D.M.C. released their first single in 1983 entitled “It’s Like That/Sucker MCs.” The feedback the group received from their first single was off-the-charts. The success of the single led to Run-D.M.C. releasing their first album in 1984 simply titled Run-D.M.C. What would happen next was truly stunning. There had never been a hip-hop record go Gold before, but Run-D.M.C. achieved Gold status with the release of their first album. Everyone loved their first album. It was rock and roll, hip hop, rap, and everything. It was simply just great music that was totally captivating and addicting to listen to. The sound of the beats, the rhythm in their vocals were all so fresh sounding. These guys looked really cool too.
Run-D.M.C. followed up their first album one year later in 1985 with the phenomenal King of Rock record. The King of Rock record would go platinum in sales confirming that this band was real and this music was much loved. It kept getting better for the group. Run-D.M.C.’s first album was the first hip hop album to achieve gold status and their second album was the first hip hop album to achieve Platinum Status. Their third record entitled Raising Hell would become the first hip hop record to go multi-platinum. One of the big reasons the album went multi-platinum was because of the success of the hit single “Walk This Way,” which was a cover version of the Aerosmith song that was done as a sort of semi duet between Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. The song became so popular that it helped revive the career of Aerosmith. At the same time. it turned Run-D.M.C. into the biggest hip-hop /rap group in the world.
Looking back at their music, it’s very much apparent as to how important Run-D.M.C. was on so many cultural levels. The group is considered one of the most groundbreaking musical artists of the past 50 years. Our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list is just a peek at some of their biggest hits and most important songs. If you aren’t familiar with this group, we plead with you to check out their catalog of music as its just simply phenomenal stuff.
# 10 – Run’s House
We open up our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list with the rhythmic song entitled “Run’s House.” We just love the video of the boys from the neighborhood like it should be. The song was actually filmed in various locations in New York City ending in front of the Apollo Theater up on 125 street in Manhattan. The song was released on the album entitled Tougher Than Leather. It was the first single released from the album. The album was released in 1988. The song was a top hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number ten. In the United Kingdom the song hit number thirty seven on the United Kingdom Singles Charts. The song was composed by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and David Reeves. Who’s House????
# 9 – What’s It All About
Man just listen to that opening drum groove, if that don’t get you up and grooving you better check your rock and roll hip hop pulse. Continuing with our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list we take a listen to the great song entitled “What’s It All About.” The song was released on the album entitled Back from Hell. The album was released in 1989. It was the third single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number twenty four. In the United Kingdom the song hit number forty eight on the United Kingdom Singles Charts. The song had its greatest chart success in the US Billboard Hot Rap Songs Charts peaking at number four. The song was composed by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell.
# 8 – Christmas in Hollis
One of our favorite Christmas songs has always been the classic Run-D.M.C. track “Christmas In Hollis.” This one came with a super low budget, I mean really low budget. DMC introduces his mom in the video as the group seems to be having a lot of fun with this one. The song was released on the album entitled A Very Special Christmas. The album was released in 1987. It was a compilation album that included some of the biggest stars in the music business like Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Sting, and Whitney Houston. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number seventy eight. The song was composed by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and Jason Mizell. It was produced by Rick Rubin.
# 7 – You Talk Too Much
In the number seven position on our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list is the song entitled “You Talk Too Much.” The song was released on the album entitled King of Rock. The album was released in 1985. It was the second single released from the album. Listen to the backing track on this great recording. It’s all original music, no samples, nothing stolen from anyone else. It’s all original music that wraps around Run-D.M.C. just perfectly. The song shows its age as both Run and DMC reference Howard Cosell and Barbara Walters as people who talk too much in the song. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number nineteen. The song was produced by Larry Smith and Russell Simmons.
# 6 – It’s Like That
The great track “It’s Like That,” is an historic song in the catalog of Run-D.M.C. songs.”It’s Like That,” was the group’s debut single. The song was released as a single in 1983. The backing track is very minimal to not get in the way of the vocals which of course are the stars of the track. You can hear how they are just kind of feeling their way around and working off each other so well. It only got better with each new track they recorded. The song would eventually be released on the album entitled Run-D.M.C. which was also released in 1983. Just think of that date. There is really not a lot of rap music being released at the time. It’s still very early and what Run-D.M.C. did with this track would become instantly inspirational to so many artists.
# 5 – It’s Tricky
These old Run-D.M.C. videos are such a blast to watch. The video for “It’s Tricky,” starred Penn and Teller as street hustlers. Nonetheless, the video aside, this great Run-D.M.C song “It’s Tricky,” stands as one of their greatest recordings ever. The song was issued on the album entitled Raising Hell. The album was released in 1986. It was the fourth single released from the album. This was their third straight single release to break into the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at number fifty seven. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number twenty one. In the United Kingdom, the song hit number sixteen on the United Kingdom Singles Charts. This was also the group’s second platinum selling single.
# 4 – Walk This Way
At the number four spot on our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list we present one of the most famous songs in rock and roll history entitled “Walk This Way.” It’s unbelievable how Run-D.M.C. completely reinvented a song known as one of Aerosmith’s greatest single releases. The song was released on the album entitled Raising Hell. The album was released in 1986.
Run-D.M.C.’s version of Aerosmith’s legendary song “Walk This Way,” would become the group’s highest charting single of their career. Based on that, some may argue that we should have put this at number one, but charts success doesn’t always become the leading factor in our top 10 picks. That being said, for the love of you old Adidas was that a big hit. Run-D.M.C.’s and Aerosmith’s recording hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986. It went all the way to number one in New Zealand. It was also a top 10 hit in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom.
# 3 – King of Rock
If anyone wants to question why Run-D.M.C. is being featured on a classic rock website, well just play them this video. You can also read our “about Classic Rock,” page to see in how we believe in making connection to all music because baby it all breathes together. And if you don’t get that, you’re not listening. And if you’re not listening, then just turn up the video below and you will finally understand.
In the number three spot on our Run-D.M.C. list we present the song entitled “King of Rock.” The song was released on the album also entitled King of Rock. The album was released in 1985. It was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number fourteen. In the United Kingdom the song hit number 80. The video to “King Of Rock,” also featured the much beloved actor known as Larry “Bud” Melman, who fans of the David Letterman show would instantly recognize. Run-D.M.C. was all about New York!
# 2 – You Be Illin
Just of the number one spot on our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list we celebrate the pulsating song entitled “You Be Illin.'” This is such great stuff. The lyrics are hysterical. The song was released on the album entitled Raising Hell. The album was released in 1986. It was the third single released from the album. It was the second of three singles from the album to break into the Billboard Hot 100 where it reached number twenty nine. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number twelve. In the United Kingdom, the song hit number forty two on the United Kingdom Singles Charts.
# 1 – My Adidas
We close out our top 10 Run-D.M.C. songs list with the song entitled “My Adidas.” This one is just sensational. If there ever was a song where Run and DMC locked into a groove so magnificently it was on “My Adidas.” These guys were off the charts on this one. The song “My Adidas.” was and still is a masterclass in the art of hip-hop and rap. This was incredibly groundbreaking material. I remember hearing this song for the first time when I bought the cassette when it was first released and just going wow I’ve never heard anything like this before.
The song “My Adidas.” was released on the album entitled Raising Hell. The album was released in 1986. My Adidas,” was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard R&B Charts reaching all the way up to number four.
Feature Photo at top of page: Jeff Pinilla, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Run-D.M.C. Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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