1921, De Soto, Missouri, USA, d. 1982, New York City, New York, USA. Of Irish descent, Shannon was raised by his grandparents after his mother died in childbirth and his teenage father was unable to cope. He took singing and piano lessons from early childhood. While attending the University of Southern California, he played in a campus club. After military service in the US Navy during World War II, he wound up in New York City where he met Billie Holiday who encouraged him to become a singer. He took her advice and began working in bars, gradually developing his skills until he was able to find work at leading New York nightspots including the 22 Club and Le Perroquet, before travelling to Europe to take a job in Capri. From there he went to the south of France, then Paris, where he worked in a club owned by Ada Bricktop Smith.
During the late 40s and on through the 50s, Shannon became hugely popular with the smart set, numbering...