In August, 1960, Del Shannon was working as a carpet clerk in battle Creek, Mich., through day and also singing in ~ the HiLo club by night. In the carpet store, the 20-year-old penned text for a track that made that so well-off he can have bought the store and also the club several times over.

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The song was “Runaway.” when it was released in 1961, the did simply that.

“Runaway” shot approximately No. 1 in England and also America just a few weeks after it appeared on huge Top Records. Shannon appeared on TV’s “American Bandstand” and also played to volume crowds in England, Australia and also Japan. That performed with the Beatles at royal Albert room in England, a country where he was voted most well-known male singer in numerous polls in 1962 and also 1963.

In current years, Shannon hadn’t created much. His mam of 27 years, Shirley, had left him. “She said she had actually to find out that she was,” that said.


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But in 1986, Shannon obtained a call from TV producer Michael Mann asking him to clock a ice of a then-proposed NBC show, “Crime Story.” The present was around Chicago cops battling organized crime. Mann wanted to usage “Runaway” as the show’s theme song.

Shannon believed the display was violent, yet said come himself, “That’s not my business. My company is to sell.”

“I was deeply moved by the song as soon as it an initial came out once I was a kid,” claimed Mann. “I believed it was very romantic.”

At Mann’s request, Shannon rewrote the tune to pertain to two detectives, quite than two lovers. The original lyric went:


ns a-walkin’ in the rain

Tears are falling and also I feeling the pain

Wishing girlfriend were right here by me

To finish this misery.

The “Crime Story” version goes:

i’m a-walkin’ in the rain

Tears space falling and I feeling the pain

Watching every the plays go by

Some live and others die.

Shannon invested 12 hrs recording the track at the Cherokee record Studios in Los Angeles. Mann came down on midnight. He chosen the new version.

The collection did well sufficient in the ratings to get renewed for a 2nd season, and Shannon’s job took turn off again. His depression over his an individual life, however, no lift till months later on when he had finished a las Vegas display with Fabian and Lou Christie at the Union Plaza Hotel. Actor Dennis Farina, the command in “Crime Story,” and also other cast members come backstage, elated that the collection had been renewed.

“They were on a real buzz,” Shannon said. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve been here, and also this is great. This is whereby I want to be--buzzin.’ ”

Shannon, the boy of a trucker, prospered up in the little farm ar of Coopersville, Mich.

“I to be an outcast growing up with a bunch that Christian people,” Shannon recalled. “My dad didn’t go to church, and that to be not an excellent news if friend lived right in the center of it.”

At 13, Shannon taught himself to pat guitar. “I started on one old acoustic choose that one over there,” he said, motioning to among several guitars in his Sand Canyon home. “I had actually put it along with baling wire. It was so far off the frets the my hands used to bleed.”

Admittedly no a scholar, that did get a B in a high school English class. “I experienced I could rhyme words. It came merely to me,” he said. “But I wrote some pretty dreadful songs that i still have actually on tape.”

He entertained in ~ high school mirrors and, after a two-year stint in the Army, played at Michigan clubs. He to be so hungry to execute that he’d journey 200 mile in the eye to reach a tiny club.

He performed in ~ the HiLo, a club where human being “drank a lot, and dreamed a lot and also fantasized about what they would certainly be,” he said.

One day, disc jockey Ollie McLaughlin from Ann Arbor radio terminal WHRV heard him sing. McLaughlin set up an audition because that Shannon in Detroit. Shannon later on flew to brand-new York City come record.

Shannon was apprehensive. “I’m increase there, and also they have violinists top top my first session. Ns said, ‘Violins?’ ns mean, the was just scary.”

Before release “Runaway,” Charles Westover came to be Del Shannon. Return he kept his birth name legally, he readjusted it for singing. “It was no rockin,’ ” the said. “It was too English, as well proper.”

After releasing numerous successful songs, Shannon relocated to van Nuys in 1965 and also became one independent document producer. In 1970, he produced the hit “Gypsy Woman” because that his friend Brian Hyland, who had recorded “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka dot Bikini” in 1960. But Shannon missed the spotlight and went back on the roadway in 1972.

At very first he balked at doing nostalgia reflects with other ‘60s-era singers, however later relented. “The only human being I base anything on in entertain is Sinatra,” that said. “He does his old records, and I think that marvelous.

‘Me Is mine Hits’

“So I execute me, and me is mine hits. I’m the end there yes, really to fulfill the people.”

But, in those year and, proceeding until 1978, he had a drinking problem. “In those days, if you weren’t drugging, you were drinking, and I drank a lot,” he said. “I hated the taste that booze, but I liked where it acquired me--into oblivion.”

Nine year ago, he checked himself right into a hospital come quit. He later on moved to Sand Canyon, where his one-acre residential or commercial property in the hills is surrounding by maple and oak trees.

Today, attract shorts, Reeboks and also a white straw hat, Shannon, 48, looks relaxed in the office of the house he currently shares through his fiancee, LeAnne Gutierrez, whom he will certainly marry Sunday.

Life is great for Shannon. Sales of the initial version that “Runaway” room “way up” because the show’s premiere in the autumn of 1986, claimed Bob Cahill, national director the sales and marketing because that Rhino Records, which distributes the song on one album dubbed “Runaway Hits!”

A ‘Chunk the Money’

Then there room royalties. Typically, the writer that a theme tune for a prime-time network television show on the air for at the very least 13 weeks earns number of hundred dollars each week the show is shown. Although Shannon declined to offer the particular amount the is paid for “Runaway,” Shannon said it is “a really nice chunk that money.”

Just earlier from performing in ~ the Oklahoma State Fair, the is scheduled to leave quickly to song at Madison Square Garden, then show up at a nostalgia display in Dallas, along with the Coasters and Freddie Cannon.

Shannon says he spends 170 work a year touring and performing “wherever there’s rock ‘n’ roll,” at places from clubs to dude ranches in countries from Japan come Australia to England. Yet he rarely performs in Los Angeles.

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When the is home, Shannon rides his bicycle (“an old pee Wee bike through the large white wheels and also saddle bags”) and runs. The frequents a health-food restaurant, occasionally accompanied by his mother, Leone, who lives adjacent in a residence bought by her son.

Sometimes that tools roughly town in his ’84 Cadillac with “my automobile guitar, a an excellent Gibson.”

“I love to perform,” the said, peering over his white picket fence at open up acreage. “But ns don’t like the traveling. If I could perform in the field, that would be a dream.”