Del Shannon

Rock On!

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Del Shannon's final album, 1991's Rock On!, is a fitting testament to a great artist who never lost what it was that made him great. The album is passionate, dramatic, emotional, and full of great songs. Most of all it has that amazing voice, and yes, Shannon's majestic voice is as strong as ever here. Check out his growling vocals on "Walk Away," his soaring croon on "I Go to Pieces," or his aching falsetto on "Callin' Out My Name." This is a singer who was still in his prime, maybe not as nimble as he was when he began recording nearly 30 years earlier but he made up for it with more gravity and vulnerability. His songwriting was still strong too. Tunes like "Who Left Who" and "Lost in a Memory" are rooted in the past but not merely recreations of glory days long gone. Country rocker "Let's Dance" even points Shannon toward Dwight Yoakam territory with startlingly good results. The only problem with the record is the somewhat overly scrubbed and processed production by Jeff Lynne and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell that leaves the record sounding exactly like every other record Lynne produced around that time, like Tom Petty's Into the Great Wide Open or the Traveling Wilburys' first. Shannon's voice keeps the record from sounding too sterile; however, he never sounds anything less than 100 percent committed and involved. This isn't some hack playing out the string; this is an important American artist who never really got his due spilling his guts yet again. Word was that Shannon was going to take Roy Orbison's spot in the Wilburys. It is a tragedy that he didn't give himself the chance to be rediscovered like Roy was. He certainly still had it and had it in spades. Anyone who doubts it only needs to listen to any song on this record. Heck, check out "Let's Dance," a bopping country tune that could have been a hit on the country charts. In fact, if you ever dug Shannon at all, you should do yourself a favor and find a copy of Rock On!. You won't regret it; chances are, you'll enjoy it.

blue highlight denotes track pick