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Subject: Archive: Del Shannon, Feb. 8, 1990

Singer- songwriter
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Date Posted: Thursday, February 08, 12:26:54pm

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Feb. 9 Del Shannon, who wrote and sang the hit, ''Runaway'' in 1961, was found dead in his home, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the authorities said today. He was 50 years old.

Mr. Shannon's wife, Bonnie, found her husband's body when she returned to their home 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles at about 11:25 P.M. Thursday, said Roger Hom, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

A .22-caliber rifle was found next to Mr. Shannon's body in the den, Mr. Hom said. He said that the death was being investigated as a possible suicide, but that the exact cause of death had not been established by the coroner's office.

Mr. Shannon was named Charles Westover when he was born in Coopersville, Mich., on Dec. 30, 1939. He began playing guitar as a teen-ager and took his stage name from a friend, Mark Shannon, and a car, the Cadillac Coupe de Ville. In 1960, a disk jockey in Grand Rapids passed a Shannon tape on to a Detroit label, Big Top Records, which signed Mr. Shannon on. ''Runaway'' was his first and biggest hit, and its trotting beat, falsetto vocals and electronic keyboard solo were influential in the years before the arrival of the Beatles.

'From Me to You'

His other Top 20 singles included ''Hats Off to Larry'' (1961), ''Little Town Flirt'' (1962) and ''Keep Searchin' '' (1965). He became the first American to record a John Lennon-Paul McCartney song with his 1963 version of ''From Me to You.''

During the mid-1960's, the British duo Peter and Gordon had a hit with Mr. Shannon's song ''I Go to Pieces.'' In the late 1960's, after unsuccessful attempts to repackage himself, Mr. Shannon arranged ''Baby It's You'' by the group Smith and produced Brian Hyland's ''Gypsy Woman.'' Elton John's 1973 hit ''Crocodile Rock'' updated the sound of ''Runaway.'' In 1974 the British rock singer Dave Edmunds produced an album by Mr. Shannon, but it and other attempts to revive his popularity in the 1970's failed. Bonnie Raitt had a hit in 1977 with a remake of ''Runaway.''

In the early 1980's, Tom Petty produced Mr. Shannon's album ''Drop Down and Get Me,'' backed by Mr. Petty's band, the Heartbreakers; it included Mr. Shannon's last pop hit, ''Sea of Love'' (1982). He was signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1984, and made two singles; ''In My Arms Again'' was a minor country hit.

He is survived by his wife

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"Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)"Del ShannonThursday, February 08, 12:28:11pm

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