tears are falling and I feel the pain

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

WE OLDER ROCK FAN—meaning fans of pre-Beatles rock & roll—were sur­prised back in 1973 when United Artists re­leased a new album by an artist we hadn’t heard from in a while. Del Shannon was being ped­dled as a One Hit Wonder (“tears are falling and I feel the pain”) on oldies sta­tions. Live In Eng­land, recorded in Man­chester in De­cember 1972, was a wake-up call for many who had written off one of the best rock and rollers of the early ’60s.

In 1975, Sire Records fol­lowed up with The Vin­tage Years, an amazing two-record set of 45 and LP sides. Long outta print, this is worth finding, buying, and lis­tening to over and over. It in­cludes a song he wrote and arranged as a nod to the British In­va­sion: I Go To Pieces, which was an in­ter­na­tional hit for Peter & Gordon, whose  lovely har­monies el­e­vated the song. Del’s orig­inal (below) is an odd mix­ture of an Or­bisonian back­beat with a Searchers-like 12-string jan­gling up front:

Tears are falling and I feel the pain

Del’s orig­inal sin­gles from the early ’60s are hard to find in stereo. Here is the un­mixed two-track master for the hit single Run­away that was is­sued on the rather rare stereo ver­sion of the Run­away album.

The stereo ver­sion of Big Top is 12-303, which is the same cat­alog number as the mono album. Should you want to pur­chase a copy of the stereo album, make sure the front cover is em­bossed “STEREO” in gold and the record has “STEREO” printed on the labels.

The last two stereo copies on eBay that were graded some­what better than VG+ sold for $500 and $600, both in 2012. In NM, this should still be a thou­sand dollar record, but stereo copies in that con­di­tion are rarely of­fered for sale.

In 1986, Del rere­corded his biggest hit for the then new tele­vi­sion se­ries Crime Story. He still sounded fanbloodytastic:

Alas, Del Shannon (born Charles West­over) suf­fered through life­long de­pres­sion. Like so many chron­i­cally de­pressed people, he “self med­icated” (he drank a lot). In 1990, while at­tempting to deal with his sit­u­a­tion with the rel­a­tively new pre­scrip­tion drug Prozac (flu­ox­e­tine), he com­mitted sui­cide and the tears are falling and I feel the pain . . .


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