Shannonwas born on December 30, 1934 and passed away on February 8, 1990. He was born as Charles Weedon Westover in Coopersville, Michigan. He was an American rock and roll musician who gained fame with his number one hit, Runaway, in 1961. His next hit was, Hats Off To Larry, which reached number 5 on the Billboard Chart and number 2 on Cashbox. The next one, So Long baby, was not as successful. In 1962, Little Town Flirt, reached number 12 on the charts. The album with the same name was also successful. After that he became less popular in the United States but held his popularity in England. He had always been more popular in England. In 1963 he recorded a cover version of the Beatle’s song, From me To You. He was the first American artist to do this. Shannon made it back on the charts in 1964 with Jimmy Jones’ hit, Handy Man, Do you Wanna’ Dance (a Bobby Freeman hit in 1958), and two originals, Keep searchin’ and Stranger In Town. Shannon opened with Ike and Tina Turner at Dave Hull’s Hullabaloo on December 22, 1965. This was the former nightclub called Moulin Rouge.
In 1966 Shannon recorded the Rolling Stones’, Under My Thumb. Peter and Gordon released the Shannon composition, I Go To Pieces, in 1966. Shannon began producing in the late 1960's. He arranged the hit, Baby It’s You, for the group, Smith. This hit was also a hit for the Shirelles in 1963. He also produced the Gypsy Woman, in 1970, for his friend, Bryan Highland, and it became a million dollar seller. His Crocodile Rock, for Elton John was released in 1973. In 1973, Live in England was released. The music had been recorded the year before. Shannon signed up with Island Records in April, 1975. Shannon had a concert at the Roxy Theatre in 1976. He sang some of his classic songs as well as some new ones. His career slowed down in the 1970's. He had fell into a mental illness state and resorted to alcohol to solve his problems. In 1978 Shannon threw the bottle away and got back into mainstream audiences with Sea Of Love in the early 1980's. The song was off of his album, Drop Down and Get Me, which was produced by Tom Petty. Petty’s group, Heartbreakers sang backup for Shannon. It took about two years to record.
Shannon recorded a comeback album with Jeff Lynne in 1990. He signed on with warner brothers records in 1984 and that same year he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. It was thought by his wife that this action may have been caused by the use of the prescription drug, Prozac. Shannon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
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