Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Life under the Bigtop

A seller on EBay wants $50 for a mint-condition 45 rpm record of Del Shannon's "Two Silhouettes."  What's up with dat?

Under the Bigtop: The B side of
Del Shannon's "Two Silhouettes"
is the gem "From Me to You."
We'll tell you what.  The flip side is "From Me to You," which has the distinction of being the first song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to chart in the U.S. (and one of the last to be credited McCartney-Lennon.) 

Now that alone doesn't explain why someone would ask $50 for a vinyl single.  But it is nevertheless an interesting story to track.

Shannon's version of "From Me to You" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on June 29, 1963 and remained there four weeks, stalling at No. 77.   (Curiously, "Two Silhouettes" didn't chart at all in the U.S., but made it to No. 23 in the UK, which loved the American rocker.)

Remember, nobody on this side of the pond in mid-1963 had heard of the Beatles. Shannon knew them, though, after appearing with them during a 15-act show at the Royal Albert Hall in London in April of that year. The Beatles played "From Me to You" at the concert and Shannon -- who knew a good song when he heard it, especially when it involved some falsetto -- brought the song back with him to the U.S. and recorded a faithful version on his label, Bigtop Records.

We were surprised to learn the Beatles' original "From Me to You," a chart-topper in the UK, never made it higher than No. 41 in the U.S. It's a fab song from the group's "invasion phase" -- they played it during their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 16, 1964 -- but we're guessing it was lost in the flurry of other great releases like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You" and "Please Please Me."

Shannon's cover is no slouch either. Give it a listen today.

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