Since both My Soul was Once Yours and The Hop were inspired by the music of Del Shannon, I felt it was only fitting for him to have his own page on my site. He was one of the most underrated musicians in rock and roll history whose first song, Runaway launched him to the top of the charts practically overnight in 1961. The man had an ear for music and the lyrics he wrote speaks into the hearts of many to this day. The Beatles were second-billed to him in England in 1963, he wrote Peter and Gordon's hit, I Go To Pieces in 1964, he is credited for discovering Bob Seger in a bowling alley, and was the rock idol of Tom Petty (who later produced Del's album, Drop Down and Get Me). In my eyes, he was a musical genius who never quite got the recognition that he deserved.
His music grabs hold of my soul, shakes it around a bit, and lets go, leaving me charged up and wired. From his classic hit, Runaway (my favorite, of course, it sparks memories of dancing to it in my living room when I was a kid), to Move It On Over (which has an early punk sound, way ahead of its time in 1965), his songs move me. The sound and lyrics of his ballad, That's The Way Love Is bounces back and forth between a crooning, heartbroken lover and a scorned rocker belting out his hurt. The man sings it like he means it!
It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns for him though. He had demons that he frequently battled, including depression and alcohol abuse. From what I have read and learned, he struggled for most of his life against the beast that is depression, which is something I can relate to. Mine is not as severe as I reckon his was, plus when adding booze to the party, it makes for an ugly combination. However, things brightened for him in the 1980s when he kicked alcohol to the curb and developed a healthy lifestyle that included exercise (which, by the way, is a great way to combat depression - I know first hand). However, the tired warrior surrendered to his enemy and apparently committed suicide on February 8, 1990 at the young age of 55. I say "apparently" because that was recorded as the official cause, but perhaps my denial has made me develop my own theories. I keep my opinions to myself, but I refuse to believe that he chose to leave this world so soon.
My Soul Was Once Yours was inspired by a dream I had about him one night. It was vivid, yet nothing really happened; he was just there sitting across a small, cafe-type table from me. I remember it was an outdoor patio at a restaurant of sorts during the day, and he was just there. The next morning I googled him to kill some time and realized that very day was the 26th anniversary of his death. It was really bizarre. As the day went on, I couldn't shake the oddity of dream and the date (and spent the entire day listening to his music and nothing else), and it was then that the story for My Soul Was Once Yours came into play. I don't know if it was merely a coincidence or if he stopped by my dream to spark a story idea, but I'd like to believe it was the latter. I had never written a book so fast, with so much of my heart and soul poured into it; my keyboard was on fire. The entire story was written in just eight days as I couldn't stop.
I had visited his website DelShannon.com many times over the years. I watched YouTube videos of him, read everything I could find, but never once thought to look up anything Del Shannon related on Facebook (doh!!). Finally, a light bulb went off and I found All Things Del Shannon, which has been the best page! I have made so many new friends and connected with several fellow fans of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It's like a little family that has been absolutely amazing and I only wish I had found them much, much sooner.