Hello,  Del Shannon recorded many hit record in his career 17 of his hits charted on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning in 1961.  He was born Charles Westover on December 30, 1934 in Coopersville, Michigan.  Del and keyboard player Max Crook performed together as members of Charlie Johnson and the Big Little Show Band in Michigan, before their group won a recording contract in 1960.

Their first recording session for the new label, Big Top records ended without a hit and their manager had them rewrite and re-record a song they had written earlier,  LITTLE RUNAWAY to highlight Crook’s unique instrumental sound.  On January 21, 1961, they recorded  RUNAWAY.  The record was released in February 1961 and was a huge hit from the day it was released.  On March 6, 1961  RUNAWAY made its Billboard Hot 100 debut and raced up the chart, all the way to #1, holding the top spot for 4 weeks and remaining on the Hot 100 for 17 weeks.  The single crossed over to the R&B chart where it reached #3.  Two months later it was the #1 hit record on the UK Singles Chart.  Del Shannon’s first hit was a multi-million seller world-wide and was awarded a “Gold Record”.

Del appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand helping to send his classic hit up the charts.  Del and Max Crook wrote  RUNAWAY.  The “B” side of the single record was a ballad  JODY, a good song that is on some of his CD’s, it did not chart.  Over the years many other artists have covered  RUNAWAY and Del himself re-recorded the song for the NBC television series Crime Story.

In 1961 I was at a concert in Rochester, New York and had a chance to meet Del.  He was a very warm and kind man.  His fame had not increased his hat size on bit.  He sang,  RUNAWAY,  HATS OFF TO LARRY,  SO LONG BABY and HEY LITTLE GIRL, all big hits that followed  RUNAWAY in 1961.  His voice was wonderful, sounding even better live…I will never forget him.  Del Shannon died in 1990 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he was 55.  His classic hit  RUNAWAY has won a Grammy, Hall of Fame Award, it is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame song and is listed as one of the Top 500 songs of all-time by the Rolling Stone magazine, #466.  Del was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.  He was a wonderful singer, songwriter and more important, a wonderful man.  His hits are a wonderful part and a lasting tribute to his work as a recording artist and songwriter.  He lives in the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.

Till the next time—Joe

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