On this day in 1961, Del Shannon's first hit "Runaway" hit # 1 on Vancouver's C-FUNtastic 50. The song held the top spot for five weeks. In this interview, Del talks about the unique sound keyboard player Max Crook brought to "Runaway".
Del had other hits with "Hats Off to Larry", "Little Town Flirt", "Handy Man", "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)". Del's 1963 version of the Beatles "From Me To You" was the first Lennon–McCartney composition to make the American charts. C-FUN played both records, with "From Me To You" peaking at #14 that August.
Del Shannon died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 8, 1990 at his home in California. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 by Everclear frontman Art Alexakis. Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt performed "Runaway" at the induction ceremony.
Sadly, "Runaway" co-writer Max Crook recently passed about a year ago. Max and Del kept a long-standing friendship over the years and collaborated as co-writers again on a few songs. Check out delshannon.com for details on the making of "Runaway" and a great profile of Max Crook.
A comprehensive Del Shannon box set in the works from the UK's Edsel Records will comprise all of Del's output from 1961-1990, including unreleased titles, lost tracks, and demo recordings.
Music historian Harvey Kubernik, along with Del Shannon archivist Brian Young, Del's estate manager Dan Bourgoise, and film producers Todd Thompson and Mark Bentley, are working on a Del Shannon documentary for Stars North. Old friend Andrew Loog Oldham will narrate the film. More at starsnorth.com/portfolio-item/del-shannon-the-runaway/