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Del Shannon : Trilogy of Escape and Despair No 1: Runaway

I know, I know I was going to give you tracks you'd never heard of. But I have to start with this in order to introduce the first part of the wonderful Del Shannon Trilogy of Escape or even raving paranoia.

I've ever seen anyone who doesn't remember this track when the "I wonder, wa wa wa wa wonder" starts up. It's universal, like Corn Flakes or Mohammed Ali.

I seem to have always known it although you might think hearing something as earth movingly pleasurable as the chorus for the first time would indelibly mark itself on your memory. But strangely, in the trilogy of escape and despair, it's just the beginning and only the third greatest track.

The ghostly guitar intro that sets up the rhythm, the jingling piano, the off-key organ break, and reminiscent nature of the vocal, calm, too calm I'd say, a dream that has turned sour and then that exhilarating yet plaintive cry

"...I wa wa wa wa wonder,

why, wa wa wa wa why,

she ran away

and I wonder where she will stay

my little runaway

a-run run run run runaway"

kicks in.

The weird thing is that it's quite a slow track and yet afterwards it feels like it was fast, as though we raced through it. This is because the whole song, especially the chorus switch into the treble register, has a heightened sense of paranoia about it. You feel that he's on the run, not her, and this paranoia is heightened by the weird, edgy organ solo in the middle. Of course! she's running away from him! Is he a bit weird perhaps, so maybe he's the one who is on the run? Certainly, what comes through is his paranoia, not hers. It's no accident that in a lot of the pictures of Del Shannon he looks like a man on the run, a face on a "wanted" poster.

And that's something we all can identify with sometimes, isn't it? No wonder we love it.

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