Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Del Shannon: The Sixth Wilbury?

Much has been written about who would have been a logical choice to replace Roy Orbison after his sudden passing in 1988. Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and Ringo Starr were some of the names floating around, but these were simply rumors. Truth be told, they could never have been a Wilbury as they were simply too commercial. Too mainstream. Too familiar.

To quote Michael Palin, "the original Wilburys were a stationary people who, realizing that their civilization could not stand still forever, began to go for short walks - not the 'traveling' as we now know it, but certainly as far as the corner and back." The Wilburys were always a little off the beaten path, a little out of step compared to the then current music trends. Yet they were never out of style. Not caring whether they were famous made them even more hip. After all they had names like Spike, Clayton, Lefty, Muddy, and Lucky.

Of course the music was great too.

One person who would have fit in perfectly was Del Shannon. At the time of his death on February 8, 1990, Shannon had nearly finished his last studio album, Rock On!, with help from Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Mike Campbell. While the album wasn't a commercial hit, it nonetheless confirmed Shannon's unique vocal talent and soulful expression of loss and abandonment, not unlike Roy Orbison's. Listening to "Walk Away", "Calling Out My Name", or "When I Had You" shows that he still had the talent, and strangely enough, the anonymity, to fit in perfectly.

The sixth Wilbury? Maybe not. But at least he gets an honorable mention.

Dennis Bacchetta - guest blogger

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Run That Body Down (unreleased master)

Legend has it that George Harrison and Jeff Lynne did some preliminary work on a Wilburys anthology, tentatively titled Maximum Traveling. The tracklist was to include many unreleased songs, including a cover of Paul Simon's "Run That Body Down", featuring Harrison, Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jim Keltner (drums, percussion), and Ray Cooper (percussion).

Jeff Lynne is rumored to have been in the studio. Let's hope the long-awaited anthology is just around the corner.