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|Del Shannon||Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals|
|Del Shannon||Composer, Producer|
|Tommy "Snuff" Garrett||Producer|
|Geoff Gans||Art Direction|
|Bill Holdship||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
Twenty years ago, Del Shannon, who at the time was a serious contender to replace the late Roy Orbison in The Traveling Wilburys, committed suicide. He struggled with depression for most of his life but he also struggled with the fact that many associated him and his music with the oldies circuit, even though he was in the midst of a comeback (thanks to exposure on the TV series, "Crime Story"). Shannon was, in fact, a terrific performer who sang about genuine heartbreak constantly. Even though his most famous songs like "Runaway" and "Keep Searchin'" were punctuated by happily piercing farfisa organs, Shannon always sounded like a man running in terminal fear.
There are a number of Del Shannon compilations out there but the Rhino Records collection from 1990, which assembles all of his work with Bug Records, is clearly the best. The CD features all the familiar stuff as well as a few surprises---like a cover of The Beatles' "From Me To You" and he covers "Handy Man" a lot better than James Taylor did years later. We'll never know how this future Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer could have taken his music to a newer generation. However, we do know what music he has left us, thanks to Rhino Records.
P. S.: Rhino did release an album that Shannon did in the mid-Sixties consisting of Hank Williams tunes. It's not available anymore but this curious oddity is worth seeking out, if only to show that Shannon was capable of branching out, long before The Traveling Wilburys existed.