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Subject: Archive: February 8, 1990 ~ Del Shannon Commits Suicide at 55

Singer / Songwriter
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Date Posted: Friday, February 08, 06:52:36am

Del Shannon, `Runaway' Rocker

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Charles Westover, better known as 1960s rock 'n' roll singer Del Shannon, was found dead in his home, apparently killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said today.

The singer of No. 1 hit song ``Runaway'' and other Top 20 singles was 55.

Westover's wife, Bonnie, found him dead when she returned to their home 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles at about 11:25 last night, said Roger Hom, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

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

Westover was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Dec. 30, 1934.

His first and biggest hit was ``Runaway,'' recorded shortly after his discovery by Detroit agents Harry Balk and Irving Micahnik.

The single made No. 1 in the United States in early 1961.

His other Top 20 singles included ``Hats Off to Larry,'' ``Little Town Flirt,'' and ``Keep Searchin'.''

Westover's popularity declined in the mid-1960s, but English duo Peter and Gordon gained success with his ``I Go to Pieces.''

He tried varying his sharp, early 1960s sound by recording with producer Andrew Loog Oldham toward the end of the decade, but it was a commercial failure.

In 1982, he signed a new contract with Elektra records, which released his album ``Drop Down and Get Me,'' produced by longtime admirer Tom Petty. That album met with critical approval.


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"Runaway"Del ShannonFriday, February 08, 06:53:39am

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