The song evokes the jazz and gospel music musical styles of the film's New Orleans setting, and the reputation of its Storyville district. It addresses an unnamed straying Christian — or perhaps all who
The song has had a second life in real-life gospel music.
Jimmy Smith version
OrganistJimmy Smith recorded the song for his 1962 album The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith. on allmusic The music was arranged by Oliver Nelson and features Nelson's Big Band. The record cover displays a sticker-facsimile quoting "Includes the exciting jazz version of WALK ON THE WILD SIDE" in order to take advantage of the success of the movie soundtrack. The track also appeared on the soundtrack of the Scorsese-picture Casino.