The so-called supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys, do this very uninspired version of Runaway.
There are conflicting reports on Shannon’s death. Some claim that it was accidental, that he was cleaning his gun when in accidentally misfired. In her testimony before Congress Le Anne Westover leaves little doubt as to whether her husband’s death was a suicide, but says it wasn’t his fault.
It took until 1999 for Del Shannon to be admitted to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. He hit the charts with 30 records over a three decade period. Sadly, his biggest hit was his first and his second biggest was his second. He was an important bridge artist between the period of teenage idols and bands that perform original material. He wrote his own songs at a time when few others did, establishing a model for the British Invasion that later pushed him out of the way.
He was a rocker who seemed much larger on stage than off. He gave people their money’s worth even if it did mean that he had to perform Runaway as his closing number 5,895 times in a row. He was a husband, a father of three, and by most accounts a pretty nice guy.
There was an aura of tragedy about him. Some of it came from the themes of heartache and longing in his songs, some of it came from the use of the minor key, some from his appearance which always seemed a little out-of-sync with presentation. For all of the above he has been a part of my life since I was 13. Thus, it is a great honor to welcome him to the Silverback Hall of Fame.
Here’s a clip of, not Del, but Chuck Westover, performing for free at a backyard barbeque in what I assume is his hometown. He doesn’t seem in any way depressed, even if he is closing with Runaway for the 5,896th time in a row.