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Del Shannon

One of the best and most original rockers of the early '60s, Del Shannon was also one of the least typical. Although classified at times as a teen idol, he favored brooding themes of abandonment, loss, and rejection. In some respects he looked forward to the British Invasion with his frequent use of minor chords and his ability to write most of his own material. In fact, Shannon was able to keep going strong for a year or two into the British Invasion, and never stopped trying to play original music, though his commercial prospects pretty much died after the mid-'60s.

Born Charles Westover, Shannon happened upon a gripping series of minor chords while playing with his band in Battle Creek, MI. The chords would form the basis for his 1961 debut single, "Runaway," one of the greatest hits of the early '60s, with its unforgettable riffs, Shannon's amazing vocal range (which often glided off into a powerful falsetto), and the creepy, futuristic organ solo in the middle. It made number one, and the similar follow-up, "Hats Off to Larry," also made the Top Ten.

Shannon had intermittent minor hits over the next couple of years ("Little Town Flirt" was the biggest), but was even more successful in England, where he was huge. On one of his European tours in 1963, he played some shows with the Beatles, who had just scored their first big British hits. Shannon, impressed by what he heard, would become the first American artist to cover a Beatles song when he recorded "From Me to You" for a 1963 single (although it would give him only a very small hit). Shannon's melodic style had some similarities with the burgeoning pop/rock wing of the British Invasion, and in 1965, Peter & Gordon would cover a Shannon composition, "I Go to Pieces," for a Top Ten hit.

Del got into the Top Ten with a late-1964 single, "Keep Searchin'," that was one of his best and hardest-rocking outings. But after the similar "Stranger in Town" (number 30, 1965), he wouldn't enter the Top 40 again for nearly a couple of decades. A switch to a bigger label (Liberty) didn't bring the expected commercial results, although he was continuing to release quality singles. Part of the problem was that some of these were a bit too eager to recycle some of his stock minor-keyed riffs, as good as his prototype was. A brief association with producer Andrew Loog Oldham (also manager/producer of the Rolling Stones) found him continuing to evolve, developing a more Baroque, orchestrated pop/rock sound, and employing British session musicians such as Nicky Hopkins. Much to Shannon's frustration, Liberty decided not to release the album that resulted from the collaboration (some of the material appeared on singles, and much of the rest of the sessions would eventually be issued for the collector market).

By the late '60s, Shannon was devoting much of his energy to producing other artists, most notably Smith and Brian Hyland. Shannon was a perennially popular artist on the oldies circuit (particularly in Europe, where he had an especially devoted audience), and was always up for a comeback attempt on record. Sessions with Jeff Lynne and Dave Edmunds in the '70s didn't amount to much, but an early-'80s album produced by Tom Petty (and featuring members of the Heartbreakers as backing musicians) got him into the Top 40 again with a cover of "Sea of Love." He was working on another comeback album with Jeff Lynne, and sometimes rumored as a replacement for Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys, when he unexpectedly killed himself on February 8, 1990, while on anti-depressant drugs. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Una de las mejores canciones de todos los tiempos.
Del Shannon was from Coopersville Michigan. Miss his singing.
who is mpricing
love oldes like this
Del R.I.P.
Runaway 1960 one of the best
I met del at the old hi.lo club in battle creek in the Gilbert hotel on my 21st. Birthday . I was introduced to del by a friend . I got to set at del,s privet table that night with him and his band . I left their that night very drunk and never once paid for a beer. But I Remember del as a good person a carting young man reaching for the stars . Looking for fame . But he would find many other forms of things along his short life. We all have and will face our own demons in this old world as time
Looks like Del got to do a lot of cool stuff not many others could say, like play on the same bill with the Beatles and Roy Orbison, to name a few.
Del Shannon was from Coopersville Michigan and it was a tragedy no one could assist him in dealing with the demons in his mind and soul. Rest in peace....
We've heard this so many times before, pills ,booze,drug overdose,pla n e crashes,car wreaks.RIP Del and if there is a rock&roll heaven,hope you can find a chair.
love the clavalone organ on this..
Always loved his music, there but the grace of God go I.
Very sad that drugs ended his life!
Loved his music .
Memories.... . . < 3
susanlamia
Dusty Springfield
Don't you just love this music so sad this music not around today luv ya Del
His sound was so great...gone too soon. He is missed.
j.gill11
Dale Shannon had a classic sound that will live forever. RIP Dale.
very sad song
torgo76
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. I think his wife was positive his suicide was due to the pills that were supposed to help him. A great loss. Love ya, Del!
kvons1
Very talented and popular for the times. I always liked most of his stuff. Damn anti-depress a n t s ! Get depressed--- t a k e anti-depress a n t s - - - g e t more depressed--- o f f yourself! End of depression and anti-depress a n t s ! Ironic viscious cycle that can become. RIP: Del Shannnon
I worked and lived in the Town Del (Charles Westover) grew up in. 2nd weekend in August every year is Del Shannon classic Car Cruise. Coopersville , Michigan between Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Still a great little town with a Measum feature alot of Del's memorabilia.
tysonsound
Lots and lots of memories of a kind man who brought happiness to those around him.
Was Del Shannon ahead of his time? is the pope Catholic ? Shannon recorded in Nashville in 1962 and barn stormed England ,When few singers went to England to tour the Brits loved him and remained faithful fans for live. nuff said
Have always been a fan-I thought he was on his way back when he teamed up with Jeff Lynne (ELO)-his song Walkaway was one of his greatest.Sad l y it was his last release.
thehiebertco
How can you not love Del? The great thing about his records is that you could plainly understand every word he sang. Therefore, it was easy to learn the lyrics to the songs. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Ohio prior to tractors having cabs and radios in them, I would sing Del Shannon songs as I would disc the fields, which would sometimes cause me to drive a little too fast! I miss you, Del.
YES I LIKE ALL THE ABOVE ARTISTS..... B U T REALLY LOVE THE DEL SHANNON SOUND
I wished we still had artist like him. Sadly today's artist just don't connect with the listener the way Del Shannon did.
My brother, Larry Mason, was a close friend of Del's, and the subject of Hats Off to Larry. Larry paased away in 1994, but he lives every time I hear that song, thanks to Del Shannon.
Yes he was !!! Proud to say he was from Michigan ... my state.
Oh, those minor chords... after all these years, all these decades, they still have the power to send the chills up my spine. Del Shannon- never to be forgotten, always to be loved and missed. KRLA was the station, Southern California was the place, the sixties were the time, and Del Shannon was the voice. Was it real, or just a golden dream?
Del Shannon was a true artist. He could write, he could play and he had a voice unlike anyone else. Keep Searchin' was one of the greatest songs of all times. Thanks Del for all the great music and memories. You may be gone but you'll never be forgotten.
One of my all time favorite song (runaway). Enjoy listen to him.
steve3691
Del Shannon was so talented. One of the very best!!
steventapper
Del Shannon was one of my favorite singers and a fantastic talent. He was very progressive and ahead of his time. His untimely early death was a real loos to everyone who enjoyed his music.
ackerbex3
A singer with a wonderful voice & amazing range - I did not realize he wrote most of his material, unlike so many artists of that era. So sad that a drug that was supposed to help him backfired. I imagine him playing with the band in Rock&Roll Heaven.
resedajohn
Del was Great!!!!Its sad about his death!Still, T h e music LIVES ON!
Dell Shannon was my all time favorite singer, along with a great number of others in second place from the late 50's to mid 60's. What a fantastic era for great music! Dell's voice was magnificent with his tremendous range. I will always hold a special place in my heart for the late great Dell Shannon. Growing up in the era of original rock'n'roll was fabulous. The cars were beautiful, clothes stylish and the music very pleasing to the ear. So sad to lose Dell to Prozac, this drug seems to produ
WAYY underrated. A very special song in my miserable depressed Teenage days.
Another Prozac suicide...
Del Shannon was without a doubt one of the greatest singing artests of his times. Those of us who grew up listening to him can not understand how the music industry could abandant him the way it did. After his hits "Runaway", "Little Town Flirt", "Hats off to Larry" and "Surching" He seemed to fade away. Many of us wondederd where he went. It is to bad. He really blended is so well with the other greats like The Everyl Brothers, Buddy HOlly, Elvis, Jan and Dean, just a very few of so many g
Runaway. it is one of my favorites, and you should know why why why why why.
One of the Best
ive loved del shannon forever...my parents always listened to him and "runaway" reminds me of them. <3
I was a kid when I first heard Del Shannon, I at that time (the early sixties) did not know his name at the time but,I do know I like his music.I saw him on Dick Cavett,(he used to have a late night show)at that time,later I heard He commit suicide.On the show He said that He was taking prozac and feeling better.It struck me pretty hard.That was the first and last time I saw him on TV. Ive stopped trying to figure why talented people do that.K W Furlong 11/8/08
One of my favorite artists of all-time. Seriously.
jeannettewil s o n
he ok but dont like
Check out his updated version of Runaway called "Runaway '67" It's cool. We miss ya Del.
miloinsv
groovy

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