Del Shannon’s formidable hit list qualifies him as one of the truly great artists of the 1960s. Del made #1 on both sides of the Atlantic with his first 45, ‘Runaway’, and for the next few years he delivered the chart goods again and again with some of the best singles ever made – most of which he wrote or co-wrote.
This new Ace set is, we believe, the first to present Del’s UK 45s, as released between 1960 and 1966, in the order they appeared here and in the same couplings used on the original London and Stateside pressings (which often differed from their US counterparts). Listening to them in sequence, it’s easy to build a mental picture of an artist who was always looking to stretch his creativity and to find new sounds to keep him in the charts long after many of his peers had waved goodbye to the Hot 100.
It would be easy to say that Del never released a better record than ‘Runaway’, but that’s not to disparage other early classics such as ‘Hats Off To Larry’ and ‘So Long Baby’, which would be high-water marks of any discography, or later gems such as ‘Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)’ and the ferocious ‘Move It On Over’, as good a record as anything to come out of Detroit’s garage scene at the time. Whether these are your favourites or you prefer the more soulful slant of ‘Little Town Flirt’ and ‘Two Kinds Of Teardrops’ or well-remembered flipsides such as ‘Kelly’ and ‘Don’t Gild The Lily, Lily’, there were no bad Del Shannon singles; having them all in one collection merely reinforces that statement.
As well as the UK singles we’ve included Del’s original version of ‘His Latest Flame’ and his cover of ‘From Me To You’, recorded while the Beatles where still in the UK Top 40 with it – both of which came out on UK EPs. To make sure that every UK single is represented accurately, we’ve also added Del’s pal Max Crook’s ‘The Snake’, which was mispressed as ‘Jody’ on the flip of early copies of ‘Runaway’. The EP covers and the labels of each and every A and B-side are featured in the booklet, along with songsheets, period ads and photos taken during Del’s many UK tours.
By Tony Rounce