A legendary song from the 1960s titled ‘Runaway’ by Del Shannon. The hit song was co-written by Max Crook, who also played the strange keyboard sounds in the middle of the track on something he invented called a Musitron. The performance occurred in 1961 at the Hi-Lo Battle Creek, Michigan nightclub. The audience was treated to a unique sound like nothing else they had heard.
The song is undoubtedly one of the signature tunes of the 1960s. The positive reactions from the audience were palpable, and the applause that followed the performance was deafening. As I sat and watched this iconic performance, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the emotion of it all. The song’s high notes are sweet and soulful, and Del Shannon’s delivery is impeccable.
It’s fascinating to think about the context of the era in which this song was created. In 1961, a gallon of milk cost 49 cents, and a dozen eggs cost 30 cents. John F. Kennedy was the President of the United States, and the country was in the midst of the Cold War. Yet, despite these challenges, the country was also experiencing a creative and cultural boom, and ‘Runaway’ is an example.
Max Crook recalls how the song came together. He and Del Shannon were playing at the Hi-Lo nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan when Shannon suggested they try something different. Crook played a couple of new chords back to back – an A-minor and a G – and Shannon said, “I like that. I’m going to try to write something.” Shannon started singing random words, and then he told Crook to play something for the musical bridge in the middle of the song. Crook played what came out of his head on the Musitron, and what you hear on the record is precisely what he came up with, with no changes whatsoever.
The positive reactions to this video on YouTube are a testament to the enduring popularity of this song. One comment from Brazil says, “Ouvindo do Brasil, muito top relembrar esses clássicos!” which roughly translates to “Listening from Brazil, it’s great to remember these classics!” Another comment reads, “First heard this in American Graffiti when I saw it on DVD a few years ago, great movie and song. Thanks for uploading!” There’s a certain charm to how people engage with this song, and it’s clear that it resonates with people from all walks of life.
If you’re a fan of music history or just love a great song, I encourage you to watch this video. ‘Runaway’ by Del Shannon is a classic that has stood the test of time. Share this video with your friends because it’s a performance that deserves to be celebrated and remembered for years to come.