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DEL SHANNON AN AMERICAN BURIED TREASURE
An Older Del Shannon Still Looking Good
Del Shannon, born Charles Westover on December 30, 1934,rocked his way onto the music scene with his biggest hit, Runaway. At the peak of its popularity, Runaway was selling 80,000 copies per day. Del had it all from his sexy good looks to his voice that touched your very soul. He could sing anything he wanted to and often times, as critics have stated, he could sing classics better than the original artists.
I was a teenager when Del burst onto the scene and I remember hearing Runaway for the first time on the radio. That was it for me. He was my dream and I was his fan. I could not listen to him enough. He was my crush. I had no idea way back then that he was older than he looked. He had such a sweet baby face. I wanted to devour him. Elvis was going strong too, gyrating himself into the hearts of almost every female on the planet. Elvis Presley was unique and there will never be another. But in his own way and in a different way, Del was just as profound and talented. The Beatles began taking America by storm and soon Del and Elvis were no longer in the limelight. I grew up and my own life took precedence over my rock-n-roll crush. Sad to say, I forgot all about Del Shannon. I vaguely remember the news broadcast about his untimely death in February, 1990.
I was on you tube two days ago and was looking for songs and I saw some videos with Del performing live. I picked Crying, by Roy Orbison. I almost fell to the floor. Move over Roy. Del performed that song as good as Roy Orbison could have ever done it. The memories began to flood my mind. Oh, that unforgettable voice - hauntingly beautiful. I then listened to I Go To Pieces and as I watched him in the video, I wanted to devour him all over again. I then saw a video that showed him singing Hank Williams' songs. I would have never believed Del could sing country music. Well, Hank you can move over too. Del could even yodel, which I don't particularly care for, BUT who would have ever thought Del Shannon could sing country as good as Hank and yodel???????? Smack me and call me fanny!
I started researching his life and learned some things I did not know and perhaps some of you may not know. He wrote most all of the songs he recorded. So, we have a beautiful voice with a brilliant mind! He developed a drinking problem but quit in 1979. Del was married twice (that I could find) and has three children - one son and two daughters. One of his daughters, I think Jodi, died of cancer in 2004. I believe it was 1999 that he was inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. I went back to you tube and listened to him for probably an hour. His voice carried me back in time to some wonderful memories. I walked away feeling sad and blue - sad that it took me until now to actually find out just how incredibly talented this man was - blue because he is no longer with us. I am even more blue that Del Shannon never received the credit or recognition that he deserved. He is and always will be an American buried treasure. I miss you Del. Sorry you had to runaway so soon, but you will always live on through your music. Rest in peace.
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