Exactly 50 years ago today, Del Shannon hit number 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart for the first week of a four-week run at the top with “Runaway.”  It was Shannon’s only number 1 hit, though he would follow it up by hitting number 5 with his next single, “Hats Off To Larry,” and he would also hit the top 10 with “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)” in 1965.

Though the majority of Shannon’s popular music success came in the early to mid-1960s, he did also hit the top 40 one final time in 1982 with “Sea Of Love,” which was produced by Tom Petty.  Some reports have suggested that Shannon subsequently became involved in the late 1980s with another project involving Petty:  the Traveling Wilburys, which featured Petty along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison.  Before more could come of this, though, Shannon died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February of 1990.

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