Monday, May 19, 2014

"Sea of Love" by Del Shannon

Song#:  0851
Date:  12/12/1981
Debut:  81
Peak:  33
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Charles Westover had success with a local band in Michigan in the late 50's before attracting the attention of BigTop Records. He signed with them in 1960 and changed his name to Del Shannon. His initial sessions for the label were not successful, but a revamped version of a song he co-wrote finally did the trick. "Runaway" became a #1 smash in 1961 and launched him into stardom. He has several chart hits over the next few years including two other Top 10 hits, but by 1966 the hits stopped. Label and publishing issues followed along with a bout with alcoholism which kept him sidelined throughout the 70s. By 1978, he was sober and began work on another album. Produced by Tom Petty and backed by the Heartbreakers, Shannon issued "Drop Down and Get Me" in 1981. This single was issued and it became his first Top 40 hit in sixteen years. Unfortunately, it would also be his last single to reach the chart. Shannon continued to perform and do some recording through the remainder of the 80s, but depression got the best of him and in 1990 he committed suicide. His influence on rock and other artists was so strong that he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall if Fame in 1999.

ReduxReview:  Shannon's version (see below) kind of has a Creedence feel at the top. Petty amps up the tune just right for Shannon and he sounds good on it. It's a nice change from the dreamy original. It's nothing outstanding, but it's an above average twilight effort from a rock legend.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Shannon was the first to record a young up-and-coming Detroiter, Bob Seger. Those early 60s recordings helped Seger later secure a recording contract. Seger named his 1978 "Stranger in Town," which also happened to be the title of a 1965 single by Shannon that reached #30.  2) Shannon was the first artist to cover a Beatles song. He recorded and issued "From Me to You" in 1965. Although The Beatles' original was released first, Shannon's charted first and reached #77. His chart appearance with the song made it the very first Lennon/McCartney song to reach the US charts. The single initially failed to reach the Top 100 singles chart for the Beatles, but after they hit #1 in 1964 with "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the song finally reached #41 that year.  3) This song was co-written and recorded by Phil Phillips in 1959. It was a #2 pop hit and #1 at R&B. In addition to Shannon's chart entry, the supergroup The Honeydrippers reached #3 with the song in 1985.


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