Del Goes to Pieces
Del wrote I Go to Pieces which became a hit for the British duo Peter and Gordon. Then, even though he had pioneered the concept of singer/songwriter, he had modest success recycling the hits of others with Handy Man and Do You Wanna Dance? by the mid-1960s he was yesterday’s news. The predictable slide into alcohol and drugs followed.
The 1970s were pretty much of a Lost Decade in terms of the musical fortunes of Del Shannon. He continued to be popular on the fringes of the British Empire, especially Australia and New Zealand, but was irrelevant on the contemporary music scene. In the 1980s, however, he seemed to be on the brink of a revival. He got sober and Rockers Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) took active roles in resurrecting his image. Petty produced a new album, Drop Down and Get Me, that featured a new, look, new image, and modern instrumentation.
A single was released with the ironic, for the author of Runaway, title of Walkaway:
It sounded pretty good to my ears, but finally released as a single in 1989, the best it could do on the Hot 100 was a tepid #99.
Following the death of Roy Orbison in 1988, Del was rumored to be his replacement in the super group the Travelling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne) It would have been classic to see Del paired with ex-Beatle George who had opened shows for him in the early 1960s, but it wasn’t to be …
Tomorrow, we peek into my personal history with Del Shannon. Meanwhile, the endless stream of Runaway covers continue. Say goodbye to the rest of your morning!