Hats Off To Larry

Album: Little Town Flirt (1961)
Charted: 6 5
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Songfacts®:

  • In the followup to his hit "Runaway," Del Shannon is heartbroken when his girl leaves him for another guy. But not for long. When he learns his ex has been dumped by her new beau, he's willing to take her back, but not before he tips his hat to Larry for giving her a taste of her own medicine. He sings, "Now it's your turn to cry-cry-cry now that Larry's said goodbye to you."
  • Shortly after "Runaway" hit big, Shannon made his major stage debut at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, where he shared the bill – and his dressing room – with Dion, who had a pair of #1 hits that year with "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." According to the official Del Shannon website, Shannon wrote "Hats Off To Larry" in the dressing room that night with Dion and fellow rock 'n' roller Bobby Vee present.
  • The slow intro features Shannon woefully explaining the details of his breakup before he launches into an upbeat rock and roll number, reflecting his joy over his ex's comeuppance. His label, Bigtop, thought a fast-paced intro would be better to hook listeners, but Shannon was adamant. He recalled to interviewer Ted Yates: "I had to fight for about two hours to get that the way I wanted it. They didn't want to listen to me. I was just the singer."
  • Shannon knew what it was like to have his heart stomped on, and several of his songs reflect the anguish of being rejected. He shared one such incident in a 1982 interview with Creem: "There was a girl I thought was really in love with me. I mean, my heart would pound when she came around. She gave me her bracelet to wear. Most likely I begged to wear it. I probably pestered her so much she let me wear it... The next day, she was out with this other guy. I took her bracelet off and put it on a railroad track."
  • This was used in the 1994 thriller Dead Beat, starring Bruce Ramsay and Balthazar Getty, and the 2003 movie Stealing Sinatra, starring David Arquette and William H. Macy.

Comments: 1

  • Sam Williams from Sherman Oaks.This is one of those songs where we will probably never know if this a true story Del is singing or if he made it up. Now based off of the conviction of his performance in this song, it sounds like he’s not making it up. But who exactly “Larry” is and if he was a real person and if he is singing about a real girl in this song that actually was his ex, we probably will never know that because we can’t ask Del about it because he’s been dead for about 30 years now. His estate might have that info though (or his Surviving kids if he had any). As far as where it was recorded, I suspect either Bell Sound or Mira Sound in New York. Both Eddie Smith and Bill McMeekin are credited engineers on the album this song is on. They both worked out of Bell and Mira in the early 60’s. I would think that that is still Max Crook playing the Musitron Organ on this song, and Bill Ramall on Bari Sax. This was the direct follow up to Runaway, so I don’t think there was a major change up with the session musicians from the first hit to the follow up hit.I don’t think the personnel on Del’s hits dramatically change till he switched labels in 1964 and went over to Amy. When he started to use more Detroit Musicians on his songs like Bob Babbit on bass & Dennis Coffey on guitar who went to New York to record with him.
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