Battle Creek in Calhoun County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Del Shannon / Runaway
In late 1960 the Hi-Lo Club, located on this site, “rocked” when the Charlie Johnson Band played Runaway for the first time. Johnson, whose real name was Charles Westover, was born in Grand Rapids and raised in Coopersville. In 1960, Westover (1934-1990) signed with Detroit’s Big Top Records and adopted the stage name Del Shannon. According to the New York Times, Shannon’s 1963 recording of From Me To You was the first American release of a Lennon and McCartney song. His last hit was Sea of Love in 1982.
Del Shannon wrote the lyrics for Runaway and recorded the song in New York on January 21, 1961. Runaway was released on the Big Top label and debuted on March 6, 1961. One month later Shannon sang Runaway on the American Bandstand television show. The song hit the top of the pop charts on April 24, 1961, and remained there for four weeks. Runaway sold over six million copies. In 1986 Shannon rerecorded the song as the theme for the Crime Story television series, which aired from 1986 to 1988.
Erected 1990 by Bureau of History, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number S0618.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 6, 1961.
Location. 42° 19.083′ N, 85° 11.043′ W. Marker is in Battle Creek, Michigan, in Calhoun County. Marker is at the intersection of Capital Avenue Southwest and Hamblin Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Capital Avenue Southwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 45 Capital Ave SW, Battle Creek MI 49017, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. LaSalle Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Cereal Bowl of America (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle Creek House (about 700 feet away); The Log Schoolhouse (about 800 feet away); Erastus Hussey: Stationmaster / "Working for Humanity" (about 800 feet away); Ward Mill Site / Ward Building Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle Creek Post Office (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Battle Creek.
Also see . . . How A Battle Creek Dad Became A Music Legend
One night in 1960 on the bandstand at the Hi-Lo Club in Battle Creek’s Gilbert Hotel, Westover heard Crook playing a unique-sounding chord progression—one different than the simple 12-bar blues, or du-wop chords used in the songs of the day. Crook, from Ann Arbor, was a student at nearby Western Michigan University and had joined the band a few months before. Westover heard the chords and a new song started to come to him. He said later that he scratched down some of it between customers at the carpet store.(Submitted on July 17, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan.)
Additional keywords. Del Shannon / Runaway
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 620 times since then and 204 times this year. Last updated on July 17, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 14, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.