When Del Shannon released the single ‘So Long Baby’ in the UK in the early winter of 1961, he was already assured of a year that he would never forget. The unique ‘Runaway’ had been one of the hits of the year, reaching No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Australia, after which the great follow-up ‘Hats Off To Larry’ had reached No. 6 in Britain, and one place higher in America, as well as making No. 2 in Australia.
It was at this point that Del started to notice quite a marked contrast between his fortunes at home, and those in the UK, where he was developing a strong and loyal following that gave him several more major hits. The pugnacious ‘So Long Baby,’ again written by Shannon himself, was the story of a guy who was keen to tell his now ex-girlfriend that she was not the only one who’d been seeing other people. “I’ve got news for you,” he sings. “I was untrue too.”
The song ran out of steam at No. 28 in the US countdown, but in the UK, on the chart for 7 December, 1961, it entered at No. 37. It was the week that Elvis Presley’s double-sided ‘His Latest Flame’ and ‘Little Sister’ was replaced at No. 1 by Frankie Vaughan’s ‘Tower Of Strength.’
‘So Long Baby’ climbed well in its second week to No. 20, the first of seven consecutive weeks in the top 20. In mid-January, it spent its one week inside the top ten, at No. 10. Del Shannon had achieved three top ten UK hits in a row — and by early 1963, he had made that seven top tenners out of eight chart appearances.
‘So Long Baby’ is on Runaway: The Very Best of Del Shannon, which can be bought here.
Follow uDiscover’s official Del Shannon Best Of playlist.