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- Posted on Aug 22nd 2007 2:00PM by Gaylord Fields
'Sister Isabelle,' Del Shannon
If I had a nickel for every song about a guy who loses his girl to someone bigger, richer or more handsome, I'd be answering my phone "Hello, King of Nickels speaking" instead of my current salutation, "Hello, may I take your order?" However, there exists one song that carries the whole enmity directed at a greater man concept to a pathological extreme, namely Del Shannon's 'Sister Isabelle' -- a baleful tale of woe about a man who has his lady stolen from him by the biggest, richest, handsomest, most influential, most beloved and most feared guy there is -- yes, I'm referring to The Big Fella Himself.
'Isabelle' tells the story of a woman named Laura who decides to ditch Del to become the nun of the song's title -- an uplifting tale if it were told by anyone but Del Shannon. Thing is, Del's not exactly taking this news lying down. Instead of coming to terms with Isabelle's newfound religious calling, he gets caught up in a jealous rage and is all but spoiling to instigate a bar brawl with the Almighty to win her back. When Shannon pleads to her, "Isabelle, am I really gonna lose you?/Isabelle, does He need you more than I do?" as his ex-girlfriend prepares to take her solemn vows, I can't help but admire his foolhardy tenacity. Any woman worth throwing down with the Lord for must be more than worth the formidable risk of incurring eternal damnation. Perhaps Sister Isabelle bakes a mean peach cobbler -- who knows?
Shannon's best songs are about his undisguised paranoia, such as his No. 1 smash from 1961, 'Runaway,' and his mid-'60s couple-on-the-lam sagas 'Keep Searching' and 'Stranger in Town.' Yet, as the old saw goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, especially if we're talking about the wrathful, vengeful God as depicted in the Old Testament. But I also sort of see Shannon's side of the story: Our Omnipotent Creator could have His choice of chicks -- heck, He could make a whole stable of hotties out of a pile of mud and an order of ribs. So why mack on poor Del's?
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