|Single by Del Shannon|
|from the album Runaway with Del Shannon|
|Released||February 18, 1961|
|Recorded||January 21, 1961|
|Studio||Bell Sound (New York City)|
|Del Shannon singles chronology|
"Runaway" is a number-one Billboard Hot 100 song made famous by Del Shannon in 1961. It was written by Shannon and keyboardist Max Crook, and became a major international hit. It was No. 472 on the 2010 version of Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and No. 466 on the 2004 version.
Singer-guitarist Charles Westover and keyboard player Max Crook performed together as members of "Charlie Johnson and the Big Little Show Band" in Battle Creek, Michigan, before their group won a recording contract in 1960. Westover took the new stage name "Del Shannon", and Crook, who had invented his own clavioline-based electric keyboard called a Musitron, became "Maximilian".
After their first recording session for Big Top Records in New York City had ended in failure, their manager Ollie McLaughlin persuaded them to rewrite and re-record an earlier song they had written, "Little Runaway", to highlight Crook's unique instrumental sound. On January 21, 1961, they recorded "Runaway" at Bell Sound Studios in New York City, with Harry Balk as producer, Fred Weinberg as audio engineer and also session musicians on several sections: session musician Al Caiola on guitar, Moe Wechsler on piano, and Crook playing the central Musitron break. Other musicians on the record included Al Casamenti and Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, and Joe Marshall on drums. Bill Ramall, who was the arranger for the session, also played baritone sax. After recording in A minor, producer Balk sped up the recording to pitch just below a B-flat minor. "Runaway" was released in February 1961 and was immediately successful. On April 10 of that year, Shannon appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, helping to catapult it to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for four weeks. Two months later, it reached number one on the UK's Record Retailer chart, spending three weeks in that position. On Billboard's Hot R&B Sides, "Runaway" peaked at number three.
Shannon re-recorded the song a second time in 1986, this time as the theme music for the NBC television series Crime Story, which starred Dennis Farina and was set in the early 1960s. This version featured new lyrics to make the song more fitting for a crime drama.
Shannon appeared on Late Night With David Letterman on February 10, 1987, performing "Runaway" with Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band. Letterman introduced Shannon as having sold as many as 80,000 singles of "Runaway" per day at its peak in popularity.
The best-known original version is in mono. However, in subsequent compilations a different take from the same recording sessions is available in stereo.
The song is sung from the point of view of a man whose girlfriend has left him. She is mostly referred to in the third person, but she is briefly addressed in the second person in the lyric "wishin' you were here by me".
- In 1962, an instrumental version was released by Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra. Welk's version spent 6 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching No. 56, while reaching No. 5 in Hong Kong, and No. 8 on Canada's CHUM Hit Parade.
- A version by the Small Faces was released on From the Beginning in June 1967.
- Elvis Presley covered the song while performing at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in August 1969, appearing on the album On Stage. During Presley's August 26, 1969 Midnight Show, Presley performed "Runaway" and then introduced Del Shannon in the audience. This performance was later released on Collector's Gold. Years later, Shannon would relate this story to Bob Costas on his late night television program Later With Bob Costas.
- Austin Roberts recorded a medley of this song and The Beau Brummels song "Just a Little" on the Philips Records label in 1970.
- In 1974, Dave, a Dutch singer who sings in French, covered the song under the title "Vanina", the song having been adapted by Patrick Loiseau. "Vanina" reached No. 1 in France and No. 27 in Flanders. Dave also covered the song in German in 1975 ("Mein Mädchen Monika") and Spanish ("Vanesa"). In 2011, he released a soul version of "Vanina" on the album Blue Eyed Soul, along with a music video, that reached No. 90 in France.
- In 1975, Charlie Kulis, a schoolteacher from New York, released a cover version on Playboy Records. Promotion for the single included an appearance on American Bandstand. Kulis's version spent eight weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 46, while reaching No. 40 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.
- In 1976, Lee Jackson, a Brazilian band, included a slow rock samba version of the song on her album Bill Haley Presents Lee Jackson - Rock Samba
- In 1977, Bonnie Raitt included a bluesy version of the song on her album Sweet Forgiveness. Also released as a single, it reached No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
- Narvel Felts covered the song in 1978 and took it to No. 30 on the Hot Country Singles charts.
- In 1986, Shannon was asked if the song could be used for Crime Story, an NBC TV series set in early-1960s Las Vegas. Shannon agreed, re-recording it with slightly different lyrics.
- In 1986, Luis Cardenas, lead singer of the rock band Renegade, reached No. 83 on the US Billboard Hot 100 with his cover version, which is best remembered for its live action/animated video that features cameo appearances by Del Shannon and Donny Osmond.
- In 1987, Swedish pop legend Fredrik Willstrand recorded a cover version for his eponymous album.
- The supergroup Traveling Wilburys recorded a version of the song, with Jeff Lynne singing lead vocals; it was released on a 2007 CD reissue of Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.
- Australian artist Ed Kuepper included a 10 minute live version of the song on The Aints 1991 album S.L.S.Q – Very Live!
- A cover by Gary Allan reached No. 74 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 2000, despite not being officially released as a single.
- Australian group 3 Piece Suite covered it in 2002; it rose to No. 54 on the ARIA charts.
- US punk band Misfits covered "Runaway" on their 2003 album Project 1950.
- The joint venture of Los Coronas and Arizona Baby covered the song in their 2011 live album Dos Bandas y un Destino.
- English rock band Kasabian covered the song on the album Dermot O'Leary Presents the Saturday Sessions 2011.
- American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold covered the song with The Vandals guitarist Warren Fitzgerald on the deluxe edition of their album The Stage.
In popular culture
The song was used in the 1973 movie American Graffiti, Crime Story (American TV series) 1986 TV series as opening theme, the 2020 film Siberia, and multiple times in the Showtime miniseries Dexter: New Blood, including an episode with the same title as the song.
Genesis included the lyric "my little runaway", sung to the same melody as in Shannon's song, in their song "In the Cage", from the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It is one of many references to hit songs from the 1960s on the album.
- Laura R. Ashlee (2005). Traveling Through Time: A Guide to Michigan's Historical Markers. University of Michigan Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-472-03066-3.
- Dafydd Rees; Luke Crampton (1999). Rock Stars Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 898. ISBN 978-0-7894-4613-8.
- Mason, Stewart. "Runaway" at AllMusic. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
- Pitchfork Staff (August 18, 2006). "The 200 Best Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
A No. 1 smash in 1961, rock'n'roll through and through, "Runaway" is also a proto-synth pop hit, introducing the electric musitron with a wicked solo.
- "Young, Bryan, "Classic Tracks: Del Shannon's 'Runaway'", Oct 1, 2008, Mix Magazine". Mixonline.com. 2008-10-01. Archived from the original on 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- Classic Tracks Back To Back: Thunder Bay Press, 2008.
- Hot 100 – Del Shannon Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Del Shannon – Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 521.
- "Hot R&B Sides", Billboard, May 15, 1961. p. 49. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- "Chart Toppers", Billboard, December 25, 1961. p. 10. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1961", Cash Box, December 30, 1961. p. 11. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hits of the World", Billboard, June 12, 1961. p. 11. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "CHUM Charts – Chart No. 318. Monday, April 17, 1961". CHUM. Archived from the original on July 21, 2006. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hits of the World", Billboard, July 24, 1961. p. 20. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hits of the World", Billboard, July 31, 1961. p. 18. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hits of the World", Billboard, August 28, 1961. p. 22. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Lever Hit Parade statistics for Runaway, Flavour of New Zealand. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Del Shannon – Runaway, norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hits of the World", Billboard, July 10, 1961. p. 14. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "The Cash Box Top 100", Cash Box, April 29, 1961. p. 4. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "The Records Disc Jockeys Played Most", Cash Box, April 29, 1961. p. 16. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "The Nation's Top Ten Juke Box Tunes", Cash Box, April 29, 1961. p. 25. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Top 50 in R&B Locations Across the Nation", Cash Box, April 29, 1961. p. 38. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1940-1969"
- The 100 Best-Selling Singles of 1961
- Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1961
- "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- "Bubbling Under the Hot 100", Billboard, October 7, 1967. p. 24. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Rybin, Steven (2013). Michael Mann: Crime Auteur, Scarecrow Press. p. 97. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Kutner, Jon; Leigh, Spencer (2010). 1,000 UK Number One Hits, Omnibus Press. p. 196. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- "Late Night with David Letterman (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". epguides.com. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
- Don Giller (2017-08-05), Del Shannon, "Runaway," on Late Night, February 10, 1987, archived from the original on 2021-12-21, retrieved 2017-08-06
- Hot 100 – Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "Billboard Music Week Hot 100", Billboard, May 12, 1962. Accessed July 29, 2016.
- "Billboard Music Week Hot 100", Billboard, June 23, 1962. p. 14. Accessed July 29, 2016.
- "1050 CHUM – CHUM Charts". CHUM. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved 2016-07-29. Chart No. 264, April 23, 1962.
- ON (2012-09-02). "Bob Costa's "Later" Show with Del Shannon – part 2 of 2! – Video Dailymotion". Dailymotion.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- Dave (NL) – Vanina, Ultratop. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Chartsventes (2016-10-29). "World singles charts and sales TOP 50 in 58 countries: DAVE". World singles charts and sales TOP 50 in 58 countries. Retrieved 2022-06-18.
- Dave (NL) – Mein Mädchen Monika, norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- "Dave – Vanesa Canta En Español". Retrieved 2016-06-17.
- "Blue-Eyed Soul! – Dave". AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- Dave (NL) – Vanina, lescharts.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Hot 100 – Charlie Kulis Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Adult Contemporary – Charlie Kulis Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Hot 100 – Bonnie Raitt Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
- "Del Shannon's 'Runaway' Success Repeats Itself, Recycled for TV Cop Show". Los Angeles Times. November 20, 1987.
- Hot 100 – Luis Cardenas Runaway Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- "Fredrik Willstrand-Runaway. (hi-tech aor) - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
- "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 – George Harrison". www.georgeharrison.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- "Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks", Billboard, January 22, 2000. p. 48. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- The Misfits - Project 1950 - Runaway, archived from the original on 2021-12-21, retrieved 2019-11-05
- Prunes, Mariano. "Dos Bandas y un Destino: El Concierto – Arizona Baby, Los Coronas | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- O'Brien, Jon (2011-11-07). "Dermot O'Leary Presents the Saturday Sessions 2011 – Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-01.