In remembrance of Del Shannon 8th Feb 1990 by Colin Bell

del shannon

Colin Bell… Today the 8th February marks the 25th anniversary of the sad suicide of a deeply depressed Del Shannon.
In 1964 I got a £1 record token for my birthday and the first record I ever bought was Del’s ‘Keep Searchin(We’ll Follow the Sun)’. I bought it in Hornbrooks in Kings Road, St. Leonards (thanks Andre for jogging my memory on the name of shop!). Every time the fair came to the Oval when I was a kid you would always here ‘Runaway’ belting out.
I just loved Del Shannons ‘sound’ compared to all those mundane Bobby Vee’s Bobby Vinton’s Brian Hylands and the like Del was harsh and edgy with a unique sound. When his 60’s hit period was up he seemed to languish in the shadows, confined to the ‘oldies circuit’. However in 1989, just months before his death his star was firmly on the rise. Slated to replace Roy Orbison in the Travelling Willburys, after Roys death, he was recording what was to become his final work with Jeff Lynne. That album was Rock On, released posthumostly in 1991 was, I believe his finest achievement, the lead track ‘Walk Away’ an instant classic. Imagine it as a ‘Willburys’ track and im sure it would have been a massive hit. There isn’t a duff track on the whole album. Sadly I never saw him play live, a friend insists he played Bexhill or Hastings? If Andre? Mick? or anyone in SMART could confirm this and post anything would love to see it!
R.I.P Del thanks for the music and ‘Rock On’ with George and Roy!

Jim Hobbs… FAB tune, another prime cut. Oh the memory of Hornbrooks in Kings Road, St. Leonards – from a time when Kings Road was a joy to visit, especially Hornbrooks, an aladin’s cave for a young gadget fan like me.

Peter Gladwish… Great song. Great singer. His voice is very reminiscent of Frankie Valli.

Mick O’Dowd… One of the better American imports of the time and he could hold a good tune.

Will Cornell… Tom Petty produced a pretty decent comeback album for him in the 80s but its timing was a little off and overshadowed by a very good Mitch Ryder comeback produced by John Mellencamp.

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