Shannon is a pseudonym for English pop/rock singer and songwriter Marty Wilde, MBE (b. April 15, 1939) who became famous beginning in the late 1950s. At that time, he was one of Britain's top rock and roll singers along with Billy Fury, Cliff Richard, and Tommy Steele. Across the pond, Wilde is best known for the rock and roll ballad, "Bad Boy" (1960), and the jaunty and winsome "Abergavenny" (1969), the latter released in the U.S. under the name Shannon.
He was born Reginald Leonard Smith in Blackheath, London, the son of Reginald and Jessica Smith. As a child, he learned to play the ukulele, and he formed a band while in high school known as Reg Smith & The Hound Dogs. While performing solo at London's Condor Club in 1957, he was discovered by impresario Larry Parnes who, at that time, managed many top acts that were a part of London's then-emerging rock and roll music scene. After signing Smith, Parnes gave him a catchier stage name, Marty Wilde. Soon after, Wilde landed a contract with Philips Records and made his debut on the U.K. Charts in 1958 with his cover of Jody Reynolds' "Endless Sleep" which became a Top 5 hit. His long string of U.K. chart hits included the self-penned "Bad Boy" (1959) and "Tomorrow's Clown" (1961), as well as remakes of such early rock and roll classics as Ritchie Valens' "Donna" (1959), Dion's "A Teenager In Love" (1959), Phil Phillips' "Sea Of Love" (1959), Bobby Vee's "Rubber Ball" (1961), and Frankie Laine's "Jezebel" (1962).
Marty Wilde made his debut on the U.S. Pop/Rock charts in 1960 with "Bad Boy," a Top 10 U.K. hit which reached #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1969, Wilde had a hit as Shannon with the self-penned "Abergavenny," which also nearly made the U.S. Top 40 (at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100) and became a Top 10 hit in Australia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He had one more final U.S. chart entry as Shannon later that year with "Jesamine," which became a minor hit.
Wilde has continued to tour and record over the years and has also appeared in several movies. His many honors and accolades include being awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth in 2017. He is the father of 1980s pop singer, Kim Wilde. With son Ricky Wilde, he co-wrote her 1981 smash hit, "Kids In America."
- For more info on Marty Wilde, visit martywilde.com.
- Marty Wilde is awarded an MBE for services to popular music at Buckingham Palace on May 5, 2017.
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- Abergavenny 1969
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