Release Date: November 19, 2013 Worldwide - Rockbeat Records
A tribute to the late/great Del Shannon. Artists celebrating his songwriting by recording Del Shannon written tunes. All profits will be donated to the DEL SHANNON Memorial Scholarship Fund which helps young musicians continue their dreams.
In an era where good looking boys were given Brill Building songs to record and sing, Del Shannon broke the mold of the Bobby's and Fabian's that were coming out of places like New York or Philly. He stood out, carving a new path with a hit formula that included his trademark falsetto, a high pitched organ, and a handful of emotional songs that featured paranoia, despair, and loss; much different than the doo-wop harmonies coming out of the Bronx or the cheesy bubble gum songs of the time. The key ingredients to Del Shannon's recipe for success were two-fold: He wrote his own songs, and he constantly reinvented himself. These two factoids allowed Shannon to maintain his chart success even in the wake of the British Invasion with songs like "Keep Searchin'" and "Stranger In Town," and penning "I Go To Pieces" for Peter & Gordon. Beginning his career in 1961, armed with musitron organ-laden hits like "Runaway," "Hats Off To Larry," and "So Long Baby," he changed gear in '62/'63 with rolling guitar-work and female supporting vocalists in "Little Town Flirt," "Two Kind of Teardrops," and "Sue's Gotta Be Mine." As self-contained bands became the rage in '64 and '65, Shannon quickly adapted utilizing The Royaltones from Detroit that featured two later-Motown session aces, guitarist Dennis Coffey and bassist Bob Babbitt. Reworking arrangements of past hits, Del scored chart toppers in "Handy Man" and "Do You Wanna Dance" along with the aforementioned "Keep Searchin'' and "Stranger In Town." When Shannon relocated to California in 1966, he looked again to reinvent himself. He tried various producers to find a new groove which eventually came in the beginning of '67 when he met Rolling Stones producer Andrew Oldham. The result was a stunning 11-track album of British baroque that utilized Oldham's arsenal of artists to fully support Shannon with songs, on instruments, and supporting vocals. Shannon was creating what would later be seen as a period piece in the cream of what was going on in London at the time. With the Oldham album being shelved at the time due to record execs having been "enlightened" at the Monterey Pop Festival, Del was encouraged to go another direction, the result this time being a full-blown psych album entitled "The Further Adventures of Charles Westover" which featured some great lesser known songs like "Silver Birch," "Gemini," and "Thinkin' It Over." By 1969 Del was in his mid-30's. He knew he needed to stay competitive in the ever-changing music scene and decided to change direction by sitting behind the producer's chair. Del teamed up with the much younger Brian Hyland and produced two covers for the younger artist that cracked the Top 10 and Top 40 respectively: "Gypsy Woman" and "Lonely Teardrops." Shannon also discovered the L.A. group Smith, which had a strikingly good looking female lead singer, Gayle McCormick. Shannon worked with the group for six months getting them in shape musically, and the result was a Top 5 hit in "Baby It's You." Shannon was still writing great songs, co-writing with Hyland such gems as "Comin' Back To Me," "Sister Isabelle," and "Could You Dig It." They wrote "Go Go Girl" for Beth Moore, "How Can I Tell You" for Barbara Lewis, and "I've Got Eyes For You" for Waylon Jennings. In 1973 Shannon was working with Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne, who was charting big hits in his own right, but adored and idolized Shannon. They collaborated on some songs like "Cry Baby Cry," "Deadly Game," and "Distant Ghost," the latter released only as a B-side but can be heard covered on this album here. As the 80's decade unfolded, Shannon teamed up with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers for the album "Drop Down and Get Me," which again gave Del a new sound and returned him to the charts with "Sea of Love." Shannon's songwriting was as strong as ever for this album. "My only mistake," Del once commented, "was that I didn't ask Petty to write me any songs." That wish would later be fulfilled when, in 1989, Shannon, Petty, and Lynne co-wrote "Walk Away" together. But before that, Del would take a detour in 1985 to Nashville to record a country album for Warner Brothers. One of two singles released, "In My Arms Again," made the country charts at #56. Great flipsides including "Beautiful Body" and "You Still Live Here" remain buried treasures out there for record collectors to find. Juice Newton took Shannon's composition of "Cheap Love" into the Top 10 country charts in 1987, while Shannon enjoyed renewed success in "Runaway" for the television show "Crime Story." By the closing of the 1980's, Shannon found himself working with Petty and Lynne again for what would become his last album titled “Rock On!” Petty and Lynne by this point were involved with The Traveling Wilburys, which also featured George Harrison, Bob Dylan, and the recently departed Roy Orbison. Shannon contributed to Lynne's album “Armchair Theater” and Petty's “Full Moon Fever.” Orbison's album “Mystery Girl” yielded the hit "You Got It" and the work was being put into Shannon's “Rock On!” album at the time of Del's death in February 1990. This final album included some great tracks like "I Got You" and "When I Had You" amongst a new version of "I Go To Pieces" that surpassed Shannon's 1964 original. Del's final song was called "Songwriter." It wasn't quite finished at the time of his death, but may have summed up a lot of what he may have been feeling at the time. "Songwriter, take out your pen, write me the words, so I can live again … Songwriter, you know what to say, to take away the pain so I can live again." It was a vivid reflection of an earlier song he had written called "Help Me," but tenfold when it came to the power and the depth of what could be felt in this song. Del Shannon was a songwriter to the end. Shannon must have either experienced such tragic pain and loneliness, or was a masterful songwriter...maybe a little bit of both. --Brian Young, delshannon.com
A very eclectic group of bands & artists have joined to pay tribute to Del Shannon's songwriting by covering his works both hits and obscure. The album "Del Shannon Tribute - Songwriter Volume 1" will be released this fall with both a "Collectors Edition" CD and also available for download on iTunes, Amazon etc.. It is truly Volume 1 as other artists and bands are still joining... All profits will be help fund the DEL SHANNON MEMORIAL Scholarship which helps young musicians, in and around Del's hometown of Coopersville, Michigan follow their music dreams with continued education and financial assistance.
Tribute Concept and Compilation: Patrick Potts.
Executive Producers: Dan Bourgoise, Patrick Potts, and Brian Young
Mastering by: Don Dixon
Cover Painting by: Marti Jones-Dixon
Album Design by: Stacie Rothermel
Distributed by: S'more Entertainment, LLC dba RockBeat Records
- Drop Down and Get Me (Del Shannon) - KELLEY RYAN with KYM WILKERSON & JODY WESTOVER (Video)
- Runaway (Del Shannon / Max Crook) - RANDY BACHMAN (Video)
- Sister Isabelle (Del Shannon / Brian Hyland) - FRANK BLACK (Video)
- The House Where Nobody Lives (Del Shannon) - MARSHALL CRENSHAW
- Restless (Del Shannon / Dan Bourgoise) - DAVE SMALLEY
- You Still Live Here (Del Shannon) - MARTI JONES
- Silver Birch (Del Shannon / Jonathan Perkins) - NASH KATO
- Keep Searchin' (Del Shannon) - CARLA OLSON & PETER CASE
- I Got You (Del Shannon) - THE BRITANNICAS (Video)
- I Go To Pieces (Del Shannon) - THE DRYSDALES (Video)
- Move It On Over (Del Shannon / Dennis Coffey) - STAYSTILLPILLS (Video)
- So Long Baby (Del Shannon) JOE G & THE ZIPPITY DOO WOP BAND featuring MAX CROOK (Video)
- Over You (Del Shannon) - RICHARD SNOW (Video)
- Hats Off To Larry (Del Shannon) - THE RUBINOOS (Video)
- Kelly (Del Shannon / Maron McKenzie) - OVERLORD
- Distant Ghost (Del Shannon) - DON DIXON
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