Del Shannon had an amazing 1961, thanks to such landmark hits as 'Runaway' and 'Hats Off To Larry.' 1962 was pretty great for him internationally too, but if his chart showings back at home in the US were disappointing that year, he ended on a real upswing. Another of Del's classic Big Top singles, 'Little Town Flirt,' entered the Hot 100 just in time for the holidays, on 22 December.
Written by the Michigan-born singer himself with Maron McKenzie, 'Little Town Flirt' was another great vehicle for Shannon's trademark falsetto. Indeed, the following year it would lend its title to his next album. “The lad's back with another solid sounding side,” enthused Billboard.
The single only entered the Billboard chart at No. 97, and given that his two previous releases ('Cry Myself To Sleep' and 'The Swiss Maid') had only reached Nos. 99 and 64 respectively, that offered no great cause for optimism. But this time it was different.
'Flirt' climbed to No. 81 and then, after crawling to No. 78, it took off. The song entered the top 40 towards the end of January 1963 and came to rest, in late February, at No. 12. By then, it was enjoying its peak week of No. 4 in the UK, where Shannon was a firm favourite. Furthermore, the single also reached No. 1 in Ireland and Australia, and was top ten in Canada and New Zealand.
Listen to ‘Little Town Flirt’ on Runaway: The Very Best of Del Shannon on Spotify