Del Shannon

Hats Off to Larry

Song Review by

"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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Runaway [Golden Stars] 1961 Golden Stars 1:58
Hats Off to Del Shannon 1962 Unidisc 2:02
Little Town Flirt 1963 Rhino 2:00
No Image 1975 Sire 1:58
No Image 1982 Dakota
No Image 1986 Rhino
Greatest Hits 1962 1987
Various Artists
Deluxe 2:07
No Image 1988
Various Artists
Laurie 2:00
22 Leaders of the Pack, Vol. 2 1989
Various Artists
Laurie 2:00
21 Rock & Roll Favorites, Vol. 2 1990
Various Artists
Laurie 2:00
Del Shannon & Friends 1990
Various Artists
Hollywood / IMG 2:05
Greatest Hits [Rhino] 1990 Rhino 2:02
History of Rock: The Rockin' 60's - WCBS FM 101 1991
Various Artists
1:58
Super Box of Rock, Vol. 2 [Box Set] 1993
Various Artists
Dominion 2:00
Smash Hits [Laurie] 1993
Various Artists
Laurie
Super Box of Rock Vol. 2 [Disc 2] 1993
Various Artists
Dominion 2:07
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1961 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 1:59
Greatest Hits [Curb] 1995 Curb 1:59
Golden Age of Rock N Roll, Vol. 4 [Excelsior] 1995
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 2:07
Happy Days: 100 Rock 'N' Roll Hits 1995
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:01
Only Rock 'N Roll 1960-1964: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 2:02
Rock & Roll: 60s Fever 1996
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:00
Greatest Hits [DJT] 1996 DJ Specialist 2:00
Sixties Generation: 1961 1997
Various Artists
Retro Music 2:02
Rockfile, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Rockfile 1:58
1960's Rock N Roll 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 2:00
Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 61 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:08
Party Dance Mix [Riviere] 1997
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 1:36
This Is Del Shannon 1997 Music Club Records 2:01
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Rockin' Jukebox, 1961 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 2:00
60's Flashback [Double Play] 1998
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:02
1961-1990: A Complete Career Anthology 1998 Raven 1:59
100 Jukebox Hits: 50's & 60's 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:07
More Original Jukebox Hits 1998
Various Artists
Empire Super Doubles 1:59
EP Collection 1961-1965 1998 See For Miles Records 2:02
Rock 'N' Roll Reunion 1998
Various Artists
Madacy 2:08
The Best of Del Shannon [Cleopatra] 1999 Pegasus / Cleopatra 2:01
Sixties Generation 1999
Various Artists
St. Clair / Boxsets 2:02
Rock N Roll Essentials 1999
Various Artists
Charly Records 2:13
1960's Happy Days [1999 Disc 3] 1999
Various Artists
Madacy 2:07
Boys of Rock 60's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:00
The Sixties Collection 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:04
Definitive Collection [Recall] 2000 Charly Records 2:03
Sixties Generation: A Decade of Change, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:02
20 Hits: Original Recordings 2000 Intercontinental Records 2:03
Rock N' Roll Reunion: 1960 to 1969 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:08
Rock N' Roll of the 60's 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:08
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 2:01
Absolutely the Best 2001 Varese 2:02
Teenage Idols [4 Discs] 2001
Various Artists
Disky Communications 1:59
25 All-Time Greatest Hits 2001 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:03
Happy Days, 1960's 2001
Various Artists
Madacy 2:07
Teenage Idols [CD #2] 2001
Various Artists
Disky 1:59
Runaway: The Very Best of Del Shannon 2002 Collectables 2:02
Runaway with Del Shannon/Hats off to Del Shannon 2002 Beat Goes On 2:04
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source
Classic Masters 2003 The Right Stuff / Capitol 2:03
Rock and Roll Generation, Vol. 1 2003
Various Artists
Compendia Music Group 2:01
Back to Back 2003 K-Tel Distribution 2:06
Rock 'N' Roll Heaven 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:05
I Love Rock & Roll, Vol. 20 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:03
Home and Away: The Complete Recordings 1960-1970 2004 Bear Family Records 2:02
#1 Hits of the Summer 2006
Various Artists
Collectables 2:03
Dreamboats and Petticoats, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Universal Records 2:00
Rock 'N' Roll Hit Mix 2008
Various Artists
Euro Trend / Eurotrend 1:33
The Rock 'n Roll [Box Set] 2009
Various Artists
Music & Melody 0:00
1961 British Hit Parade, Pt. 3: September-December 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:02
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 12: 1961 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 1:57
I Like It Like That! 2012
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:02
The Complete UK Singles (And More) 1961-1966 2013 Ace 2:02
The Drugstore's Rockin': Two Silhouettes 2019 Bear Family Records 2:00
20 Million Dollar Memories, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Laurie 1:59
No Image Phantom
Golden Tunes
Various Artists
Cherished Records
It's Only Rock & Soul, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Artemis Records / Zebralution
Legends Laurie 2:03
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 2: 1959-1962
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 1:57
The Extended Play Collection, Vol. 62 Cherished Records
The Party Dance Mix, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Euro Trend 1:36