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Hats Off To Del: Shannon Singles Compiled By Ace Records

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Del Shannon - UK Singles“Runaway,” “Little Town Flirt,” “Keep Searchin’ (I’ll Follow the Sun)”: the songs of Del Shannon have become an integral part of the American rock-and-roll tapestry.  They’re the lasting legacy of a restless, creative artist who survived the British Invasion and continued to make strong, relevant music right up until his suicide in 1990.  Ace Records has just offered a new 2-CD anthology that allows Shannon’s classic singles to be viewed through a new prism.  The Complete U.K. Singles and More (1961-1966) offers just what the title indicates: the As and Bs of every Del Shannon single issued in the U.K. during that period plus a couple of bonuses.  By the numbers, you’ll find 42 songs including nineteen singles.  Of those singles, fourteen went Top 40, and all but one eclipsed the respective U.S. chart placement.  The U.K. had a love affair with Del Shannon, and here’s the reason – well, 42 reasons – why.  All tracks were originally issued on the London and Stateside labels in the U.K.; London first issued Del’s singles but Stateside took over as of 1964’s “Mary Jane” b/w “Stains on My Letter.”

1961’s “Runaway,” a chart-topper on both sides of the Atlantic, naturally starts off this compilation for the man born Charles Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1944. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee followed up “Runaway,” with its memorably eerie Musitron organ part, with another  to Top 10 hit “Hats Off to Larry.” With its overt similarities to “Runaway,” “Larry” went to No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 6 across the pond.  “Little Town Flirt” only made it to No. 12 in the U.S., but eclipsed “Larry” at No. 4 on the U.K. London label.  Shannon continued his winning streak when he became the first American artist to record a Beatles song with his 1963 cover of “From Me to You.” His final American single for Big Top Records, it wasn’t released as a single in the U.K., but Ace has added it anyway!  Along the way to that Lennon and McCartney number, Shannon supplied many of his own songs (“Hey Little Girl,” “Cry Myself to Sleep,” “Two Kinds of Teardrops”) while still surveying tunes from Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman (“(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”), Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard (“The Answer to Everything”) and even Roger Miller (“The Swiss Maid”).

After the jump: more details on Del, plus a full track listing with discography and an order link!

Shannon was determined not to let the British Invasion of the U.S. keep him down.  After embracing The Beatles’ “From Me to You,” he scored with a revival of Jimmy Jones’ 1959 “Handy Man,” later reinvigorated by James Taylor.  “Handy Man” returned Shannon to the U.S. Top 30 (his first such appearance since “Little Town Flirt”) but stalled at No. 36 on the Stateside label.  The singer tried to recapture the “Handy Man” magic with a cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Wanna Dance,” and the gamble paid off at home in the U.S., returning him to the Hot 100.  Surprisingly, it eluded the U.K. chart entirely.  But his next single, the self-written “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun),” marked a turning point.  Stylistically the song was in Shannon’s trademark rock-and-roll style, but also touched on something more complex, with a hint of folk in the blend.  It went Top 10 in the U.S., and hit No. 3 on Stateside.  Again, the artist hit on a winning formula (think “Runaway” leading to “Hats Off to Larry,” “Handy Man” leading to “Do You Wanna Dance,” etc.) and emulated “Keep Searchin’” with “A Stranger in Town.”  But the gambit worked, and the memorable “Stranger” went to a decent No. 30 berth in the U.S., faring less well in the U.K. at No. 40.

Just three more singles followed on Stateside, but as the sixties progressed, Shannon experimented with psychedelic, orchestral productions and further interesting sonic excursions.  A battle with alcoholism slowed his productivity in the 1970s. Still, he found time to work with younger artists for whom he had been an influence, including Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Dave Edmunds and the Smithereens.  The Complete U.K. Singles captures the most prolific and significant period of Del Shannon’s career, and producer Tony Rounce has provided track-by-track illustrations in the richly-illustrated 24-page booklet.

You can order Del Shannon’s Complete U.K. Singles 1961-1966 at the links below!

Del Shannon, The Complete U.K. Singles (And More) 1961-1966 (Ace CDTOP2 1360, 2013) (Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. Runaway (HLX 9317, 1961)
  2. The Snake – Maximilian (HLX 9317, 1961)
  3. Jody (HLX 9317, 1961)
  4. Hats Off to Larry (HLX 9402, 1961)
  5. Don’t Gild the Lily, Lily (HLX 9402, 1961)
  6. So Long, Baby (HLX 9462, 1961)
  7. The Answer to Everything (HLX 9462, 1961)
  8. Hey! Little Girl (HLX 9515, 1961)
  9. You Never Talked About Me (HLX 9515, 1961)
  10. Cry Myself to Sleep (HLX 9587, 1962)
  11. I’m Gonna Move On (HLX 9587, 1962)
  12. The Swiss Maid (HLX 9609, 1962)
  13. Ginny in the Mirror (HLX 9609, 1962)
  14. Little Town Flirt (HLX 9653, 1962)
  15. The Wamboo (HLX 9653, 1962)
  16. Two Kinds of Teardrops (HLX 9710, 1963)
  17. Kelly (HLX 9710, 1963)
  18. Two Silhouettes (HLX 9761, 1963)
  19. My Wild One (HLX 9761, 1963)
  20. (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame (EP REX 1332, 1961)
  21. From Me to You (EP REX 1387, 1963)

CD 2

  1. Sue’s Gonna Be Mine (HLU 9800, 1963)
  2. Now She’s Gone (HLU 9800, 1963)
  3. That’s the Way Love Is (HLU 9800, 1964)
  4. Time of the Day (HLU 9800, 1964)
  5. Mary Jane (SS 269, 1964)
  6. Stains on My Letter (SS 269, 1964)
  7. Handy Man (SS 317, 1964)
  8. Give Her Lots of Lovin’ (SS 317, 1964)
  9. Do You Want to Dance (SS 349, 1964)
  10. This is All I Have to Give (SS 349, 1964)
  11. Keep Searchin’ (SS 368, 1964)
  12. Broken Promises (SS 368, 1964)
  13. Stranger in Town (SS 395, 1965)
  14. Over You (SS 395, 1965)
  15. Break Up (SS 430, 1965)
  16. Why Don’t You Tell Him (SS 430, 1965)
  17. Move It On Over (SS 452, 1965)
  18. She Still Remembers Tony (SS 452, 1965)
  19. I Can’t Believe My Ears (SS 495, 1966)
  20. I Wish I Wasn’t Me Tonight (SS 495, 1966)

CD 1, all tracks, and CD 2, Tracks 1-4 from the London label
CD 2, Tracks 5-20 from the Stateside label
All tracks mono except CD 1, Tracks 3-4, 14, 16-17, 21 and CD 2, Tracks 9, 11-14 & 16

Written by Joe Marchese

March 20, 2013 at 09:40

One Response

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  1. If anyone is able to report on a sound comparison with these songs from the Bear Family boxset, I’d appreciate it.

    So many sad endings to the early rockers! And yet Little Richard and Jerry Lee are still standing. Let us celebrate them!


    March 21, 2013 at 08:35

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