Hats Off To Larry

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

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.

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