Westover, Charles Weedon
Born: Dec 30, 1939 AD
Died: 1990 AD, at 50 years of age.
1934 - Del Shannon was born Charles Weedon Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan on December 30th.
1948 - Taught to play the ukulele by his mother as a child, young Charles soon flowered into guitar picking at 14 years of age.
1956 - Westover was drafted into the U.S. Army. Stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, he polished his guitar playing skills in the 7th Army's "Get Up And Go" program.
1958 - Discharged, Westover returned to Michigan with wife Shirley where they settled in Battle Creek. It was there that Charles Westover became Del Shannon.
1961 - Shannon was swiftly signed to a contract and recorded "Runaway," which skyrocketed to the top of the charts within weeks after release and brought Shannon to instant star-status.
1962 - The hit streak continued as Shannon composed "Hats Off To Larry," "So Long Baby," and "Hey! Little Girl" hot on the heals of "Runaway," giving the multi-talented artist four Top 40 hits in his first year as a singer. Shannon's hit streak suffered with two big flops, "Ginny In The Mirror" and "Cry Myself To Sleep," although the latter proved to be the chief inspiration for Elton John's "Crocodile Rock".
1963 - Del Shannon was back with a vengeance. Hooking up with Big Top staff writer, Maron "Robert" McKenzie, "Little Town Flirt" and "Two Kind of Teardrops" were composed, among others, which returned Shannon to the forefront internationally in pop music.
1964 - Saw Shannon change over to Amy Records where he hooked up with the Royaltones, who became his tight backing band.
1969 - As Shannon's three year contract with Liberty drew to a close, Del took in teen-idol Brian Hyland and produced the younger star and cultivated him into a promising songwriter and rejuvinated his career with an album on Uni, yielding the big Top 5 hit of Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman".
1972 - Working with the John Mac's Flare Band, Del recorded a live album at the Princess Club in Manchester in December.
1974 - Del Shannon got together with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe and recorded one of his finest and yet surprisingly undiscovered compositions, "And The Music Plays On".
1976- He recorded an album's worth of material in Dublin, Ireland with his touring band, but nothing was released as Shannon continued to struggle with the bottle.
1978 - Shannon gave up alcohol for good, lost weight, and got back into shape. He found the direction he was looking for in Tom Petty.
1990 - Shannon, troubled with growing personal matters in his own life, literally solved all his problems by committing suicide with a .22 calibre rifle. Shannon was pronounced dead on February 8th in his home in Santa Clarita, California.
Page last updated: 1:01pm, 27th Mar '07