TV Show From “The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll” Shows Del Shannon Performing His Hit “Runaway”

It was only on the air for a short time, in 1965 and 1966, but the television show “Hollywood a Go-Go” brought some major talent to America’s living rooms. Based in Los Angeles, the show featured big names like James Brown, Tina Turner, Sonny and Cher, and Aretha Franklin. Back then, television didn’t have the special effects it does today. In fact, “Hollywood a Go-Go” wasn’t even broadcast in color! Of course, this meant that the music was everything.

Born Charles Westover, Del Shannon grew up in Michigan in the 1930s and ’40s. He got his start in music by learning the ukulele and guitar. He also listened to country and western on the radio (Hank Williams was one major influence on his musical development). Stationed in West Germany during his stint in the Army in the mid-1950s, Shannon founded a band called “The Cool Flames.” After returning to civilian life, he joined a local band back home in Michigan, eventually becoming its leader. A key addition he made was keyboardist Max Crook, a specialist in the “Musitron” (an early version of the synthesizer). Crook made some connections and by 1960, the band had its first recording contract and Westover had a new stage name: Del Shannon.
Shannon met with great success during the 1960s, but a struggle with alcoholism hurt his career in the 1970s. He was, however, able to make something of a comeback in the 1980s. Sadly, Shannon took his own life in 1990 at the age of 55.

In the video posted below, you can dial your television back to 1965 and see Del Shannon’s appearance on “Hollywood a Go-Go” where he performs his hit song from 1961, “Runaway.” Smartly dressed dancers bop out the early ’60s dance moves while Shannon cuts loose with voice and guitar. “Runaway” was immensely popular; even The Beatles felt compelled to record their own version!

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