Run Willie Run

Background and commentary

The piece “Run Willie Run” is mentioned periodically in interviews with Alex and Geddy as one of the originals they played in the early 1970s, before Neil replaced John Rutsey on drums.

It’s something of a Southern R&B tune about a young guy who’s running from the law. “What you gonna do when the sun come up? Where you gonna go where the law won’t find you?”

It’s about three stanzas long, with lyrics along those lines throughout.

In a video that looks like it dates back to the late-1960s or early 1970s, Alex is playing the piece on an acoustic guitar, while one of his friends is dancing around and singing the lyrics in a kind of imitation Southern drawl. Other friends look on.


The lyrics, as much as they can be deciphered, go something like this:

Run Willie, run Willie
If you only had a gun . . .
You can get to the river on time

Run Willie, run Willie
You know they would kill you if they find you . . .

What you gonna do when the sun comes up?
Where you gonna run where the law won’t find you?

What you gonna do when the sun goes down?
Gonna run like a rabbit . . .
Gonna hit you in the middle where the sun don’t shine

—Rush Vault

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~ by rvkeeper on August 9, 2011.

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