This is the series where I feature The Guardian’s idea of the 100 best UK #1s ever, and we see what I have to say about them.
Back, now, to 1961, and a record by the one and only Charles Weedon Westover, better known by his stage name: Del Shannon, which I think we can agree sounds a lot better as a rock’n’roll name than his birth name.
Shannon is best known for this tune, where he is rocking a look which can probably be best describe as combining the dress sense and guitar of both of the Gallagher brothers with the quiff of ‘Gripper’ Stebson from Grange Hill:
Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it:
“Behind the simple, perky rock’n’roll facade – “the ultimate fairground anthem”, as writer Bob Stanley put it – there’s something disturbing about Del Shannon’s biggest hit: an eeriness about the rumble of the opening guitar chords and the echoing keyboard solo, a sense the vocal is slightly too impassioned and pained. The result is as compelling a single as 1961 produced.”
Now, I’m never going to disagree with anything Rocking Bob says, but here’s something I would add to that: some of us chaps and chapesses of a certain age may just remember this song from this video, a cover version by Luis Cardenas. You remember Luis Cardenas, right..? The drummer from Renegade…? Who sound like they’re from a Bill & Ted film, but who actually existed…..?
The mind is a funny thing. I remember that video so distinctly, I figured it must have been an absolute smash both sides of the Atlantic, but no: research for this post tells me it got to #78 here in the UK, and #83 in the USA.
I would imagine there are quite a few of you watching that now, pointing aghast at your screen, like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, remembering it for the first time since it came out in 1986.