Tuesday 9 February 2010

I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder

On this day twenty years ago, the world lost a great talent when Del Shannon, the object of teenybopper lust in the 1960s, committed suicide with a shotgun after a period of depression.

What a sad end to an amazing life - the man wrote his most famous hit Runaway at the age of 21, and on transferring the the UK in the early 60s became a best-selling artist to rival even The Beatles. In fact his cover of From Me To You was a chart hit back home in the US before Beatlemania even took off! The artist formerly known as Charles Weedon Westover went on to work with a myriad of stars from Ike and Tina Turner to Tom Petty, and Bob Seger was his protégé. Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler admits that "Del Shannon was the reason I picked up my first guitar."

Alongside another favourite 60s vocalist Gene Pitney, Mr Shannon was largely forgotten for many years, then re-discovered in the 80s by the "cool set" - in Del's case his music was used for a TV show theme tune. A little too late unfortunately, but at least we have his legacy of fine music with which to remember him, including these...


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