"Hats Off to Larry" was very much in the tradition adhered to by follow-up records to huge smashes: a song which was similar to, though not exactly the same as, the hit that came before it. In "Hats Off to Larry"'s case, it was acting as the follow-up to Shannon's #1 hit "Runaway." And "Hats Off to Larry" was, though quite reminiscent of "Runaway," pretty successful artistically and commercially, going to #5 in 1961. Like "Runaway," "Hats Off to Larry" was built around haunting minor chords that moved to major ones in the chorus. And "Hats Off to Larry," like "Runaway," used the eerie electronic keyboard sound of the musitron, and periodic passages where Shannon's voice rose to an extremely high falsetto. Still, "Hats Off to Larry" wasn't a total duplication of "Runaway." The most ingenious part of "Hats Off to Larry," perhaps, was the opening, in which Shannon sang slowly to nothing but an acoustic guitar, as if he was a minstrel delivering the prelude to a tragic ballad. The guitars revved up after a few bars, though, and Shannon crashed into the catchy chorus, gliding into a stratospheric falsetto of triumph at the end of the "it's your turn to cry cry cry" line. The premise of "Hats Off to Larry" is one of vengeful glee, the guy who's been dumped cackling when the guy she left him for dumps her. It fit in well with Shannon's image of the wronged underdog, given a lyric that everyday people could identify with by the use of the rather unromantic name Larry as the hero. A weird twist that hints at a layer of sadomasochism was found in the bridge, where Del's tone briefly softens and he actually says he wants the girl back as he thinks she'll change. But lest she feel too validated, he then reminds her that there's one more thing he's gotta say. And then he's off into the vengeful chorus again -- as if she'll be in any mood to hear that sentiment over and over just after he's asked to have her back. The musitron solo in the instrumental break is, like the one in "Runaway," piercing, eerie, and suggestive of a guy on the edge of a nervous breakdown.