Del Shannon never had a UK No. 1 single, but his British fans helped him place no fewer than eight singles in the top ten there. Two of those reached No. 2, the first of them making its chart debut on 15 March 1962 — and it was a song that barely made the US top 40, ‘Hey! Little Girl.’
The singer from Coopersville, Michigan was on a hot streak on the other side of the Atlantic at the time, with three major hits before this one in the space of just eight months. After ‘Runaway’ blasted to No. 1, both ‘Hats Off To Larry’ and ‘So Long Baby’ made the UK top ten, before ‘Hey! Little Girl’ started its run.
By the time the song debuted at No. 43, it had been and gone on the American charts, running out of steam at No. 38 in the first week of January. But it’s justly praised in Ritchie Unterberger’s review for the allmusic.com website as an “exceptional performance, deserving of a hearing by those listeners only familiar with the three or four Shannon songs that have made it into oldies rotation.”
Del had built up a substantial British following, who helped the London single climb the charts steadily over the next seven weeks. He performed the UK b-side, ‘You Never Talked About Me,’ in the film It’s Trad, Dad, known in America as Ring-A-Ding Rhythm. ‘Hey! Little Girl’ landed at No. 2 in early May, coming to rest behind the Shadows’ ‘Wonderful Land.’
In September 1962, Shannon was able to thank his British fans for their support in person, starting his first tour there with Dion. Before the end of 1962, Del was back in the runner-up spot in the UK with ‘Swiss Maid,’ this time losing out on the top spot to Frank Ifield’s ‘Lovesick Blues.’
‘Hey! Little Girl’ is on Runaway: The Very Best of Del Shannon, which can be bought here.
Follow uDiscover’s official Del Shannon Best Of playlist.