First Hit #1: October 23, 1961
Runaround Sue starts badly, mostly because it cribs a plaintive tone from the omnipresent teen tragedy songs of the early ’60s. Teen tragedy songs are generally awful tearjerkers about morons. So, of course, I hate them, a lot, but then luckily it all changes into a pretty upbeat song about a young lady named Sue, and a warning to stay away from her. The explicit reason is due to her running around with other guys. The implied reason likely has more to do with the syphilis you’ll inevitably catch from her.
It’s a different approach to tackle the classic track about a cheating woman with an upbeat, danceable party song, and it pays off in spades. Plus, the exaggeration is really funny in the end. From the initial declaration that she ran around with every single guy in town, it’s clear that this guy is trying to get revenge on Sue by accusing her of constantly cheating, and what better revenge is there than having her indiscretions being a catchy pop song? It’s fun, it’s a bit silly, and I’m going to say it was one of the best songs of 1961.