An underappreciated fact in Del Shannon's career is how he wound up racking up more big hit singles in the U.K. than he did in his American homeland. Yes, the same songs were big on both sides of the Atlantic -- "Runaway," "Hats Off to Larry," "Little Town Flirt," "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)" -- but Shannon had more Top Ten hits in the U.K., where "Hey! Little Girl," "The Swiss Maid," and "Two Kinds of Teardrops" all resided, and there were many others that showed up in the lower reaches of the Top 40. So, it makes sense that Ace decided there was a market for The Complete UK Singles (And More) 1961-1966
, a double-disc set of the As and Bs Shannon released on London and Stateside during the first half the '60s. The "And More" comes from such quirks as the addition of "The Snake," a groovy instrumental by Maximilian
that was mis-credited to Shannon on the initial singles of "Runaway," but the bulk of this collection simply serves up the straight singles he released during these six years. This was right during the height of the British Invasion, but Shannon kept racking up British hits because his sound lay somewhere between the teenage parties of the '50s and the swinging sounds of the '60s. All the minor chords, keening vocals, wailing organs, and insistent rhythms made Shannon sound thoroughly modern in the first half of the '60s, and listening to all these singles pile up one after another is a heady experience. After all these years, Del Shannon still sounds like no other rocker and this collection, with its odd turns and detours sitting next to the big hits, is perhaps the best place to appreciate his unique style.