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Del Shannon Biography

Del Shannon

Born Charles Westover in Coopersville, Michigan, on December 30, 1934, rocker Del Shannon claimed legendary country-western singer Hank Williams as an early influence, but his first record was unadulterated rock: the classic "Runaway" in 1961, highlighted by Shannon's falsetto and keyboardist Max Crook's wailing Musitron (an invention of his). It shot to #1 in both the US and the UK. He had several follow-up hits, including "Hats Off to Larry" and "Little Town Flirt", but his last big hit came in 1965, with "Keep Searchin' ". His career decline didn't keep him from working, however, and he had a few modest hits, notably a cover of Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance?". Shannon spent much of the late 1960s and early 1970s touring Great Britain, where he found a more receptive and admiring audience than he did in the US.
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In 1985 he had a minor hit on the US country music charts with "In My Arms Again". Shortly afterwards he began touring in rock-n-roll revival shows. On February 8, 1990, after battling a combination of drugs, alcohol and depression for years, he shot himself to death.

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