In 1962, “Little Town Flirt” became Del Shannon’s third big hit on the American charts, after his iconic “Runaway” and the less-well-remembered but still great “Hats Off to Larry.”  Shannon’s signature falsetto plays a far smaller role in this song than in those two, but this is a great pop song nevertheless.  Electric Light Orchestra maestro Jeff Lynne was fan of Shannon’s, and, although certainly better known for his recorded Jerry Lee Lewis impressions, Lynne decided in the late ’70s to cover “Little Town Flirt.”  ELO has only a few covers in their catalogue (“Roll Over Beethoven” notwithstanding), but that doesn’t mean that they only cover songs when they can reimagine them in some way.  On the contrary, this version was a pretty faithful cover.

Last year, the Intelligence, a group of San Francisco garage-rockers, covered “Little Town Flirt” on their latest album, Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me.  They learned the song from the ELO version.  Frontman Lars Finberg, well aware of his limitations as a vocalist, recruited one Shannon Shaw to contribute lead vocals.  The resulting cover sounds kind of like a duet between ’50s rockabilly star Wanda Jackson and Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh… which, strangely enough, turns out to be a good thing.

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