Search - Del Shannon :: Rock on

Rock on
Del Shannon
Rock on
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Originally released in 1991 ROCK ON proved to be one of DEL SHANNON'S greatest sellers and sadly the last album he made before his untimely death. Produced by JEFF LYNNE (ELO/TRAVELING WILBURYS) who also plays on the album...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Del Shannon
Title: Rock on
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mca
Release Date: 10/1/1991
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 008811029623


Album Description
Originally released in 1991 ROCK ON proved to be one of DEL SHANNON'S greatest sellers and sadly the last album he made before his untimely death. Produced by JEFF LYNNE (ELO/TRAVELING WILBURYS) who also plays on the album with fellow WILBURY TOM PETTY. There was a strong rumour at the time that Shannon was due to replace the late Roy Orbison in the TRAVELING WILBURYS. We have re mastered this album from original tapes and added a number of bonus tracks including "Songwriter", a cassette demo and the very last song DEL ever recorded.

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CD Reviews

Heartbreakingly Brilliant
Gianmarco Manzione | Tampa, FL USA | 06/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"By the time Del Shannon took his own life on February 8th, 1990, he had nearly completed this record with Jeff Lynne in the wake of Lynne's monumental success producing The Traveling Wilburys' debut and Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever" album. Shannon was no stranger to success himself--his hit single "Runaway," the song he would sing for the rest of his life, sold at a clip of 80,000 copies a day back in 1961--but, as with so many pop stars of Shannon's era, the world with its ever-diminishing attention span quickly moved on to the next fad and the next (prog rock, punk, disco, new wave--none of them exactly suited to the quivering falsetto of a country rock has been.) Shannon's response was not an unusual one: he drank. A lot. Such cruel reversals of fortune are not easy on anybody, but for a former truck driver who worked his way out of a furniture factory and into the big time on nothing but raw talent and a song he wrote while working at a carpet store, it had to be an especially difficult wound to his pride.

Even more tragic was the quality of the music he'd been brewing with Lynne in these sessions, from which this posthumous release, poignantly titled Rock On!, emerged--an album that went on to become one of Shannon's best-selling records. There was something about Lynne's signature pop sound and the enduring miracle of Del Shannon's voice that culminated in some of the finest music the man had ever made--tracks like "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" or "Walk Away" restored Shannon to the throne of his forgotten legacy, one that Richard Cromelin described as "haunting vignettes of heartbreak and restlessness [that] contain something of a cosmic undercurrent which has the protagonist tragically doomed to a bleak, shadowy struggle." How was anyone to know, though, that all along he was singing about himself, that somewhere amid all the gloss and syrup of early '60s pop production stood a man alone with demons he could only face in front of thousands of fans? Maybe that's what Joan Baez meant when she said that "the easiest relationship is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one."

That's both the mystery and tragedy of Shannon's premature demise. He took his own life just as it seemed he was catching on again. Tom Petty, a friend of Shannon's who infuriated him by stealing the equally doomed Howie Epstein from Shannon's band when Ron Blair quit The Heartbreakers in 1976, reconciled enough with him to produce his surprisingly good "Drop Down and Get Me" LP in 1982, which featured Shannon backed by Petty's Heartbreakers ("His voice is like a siren," Mike Campbell would say.) The album wasn't exactly a commercial success, but it earned Shannon a minor hit with his cover of Phil Phillips's "Sea of Love," reawakening critics to the flame of a talent that still burned as brightly as ever. Shannon scored another hit a few years later when Michael Mann chose "Runaway" as the theme song for his short-lived TV drama "Crime Story" in 1986. And it was yet another irony in Shannon's life that another legend who died in the midst of a stunning resurgence--Roy Orbison--left a spot open for Shannon on the next Traveling Wilburys album, a no-brainer given Shannon's established relationship with Petty and Lynne.

Though Shannon had reportedly quit the bottle years before when he returned from a creative oblivion to pair with Petty for "Drop Down and Get Me," no amount of resurgent glory was powerful enough to push away his pain. "Rock On!" is not only a great album; it is a tragic document of self-destructive genius--something American culture is, unfortunately, all too familiar with.

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Del Shannon at his best
Henry Perkins | bennettsville, sc | 12/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"this is Del Shannon at his best. The sound is great,and you can hear the Jeff Lynne influences. It is a sad album,you can almost feel his pain,and after reading the liner notes you realize he died before it could be released. The last track will bring tears to your eyes. This is also a favorite with my nine year old grandson..A must have for Del Shannon fans."