Dion Francis DiMucci (b July 18, 1939), better known as Dion, is an Italian-American singer-songwriter now widely recognized as one of the top vocalists of his era, blending the best elements of doo-wop, traditional pop, and rnb styles, as well as a forerunner in the development of rock and roll.
Dion was born to an Italian-American family in the Bronx borough of New York City. As a child, he used to accompany his father, a vaudeville entertainer, on tour, and developed a love of country music – particularly Hank Williams – and the blues and doo-wop stars he heard in local bars and on the radio. His singing abilities were honed on the street corners of Crotona Avenue, where he rounded up other local singers inventing acapella licks, and in local clubs.
In early 1957 he auditioned for Bob and Gene Schwartz, who had just formed Mohawk Records. They recorded him with a vocal group, The Timberlanes, and released a single "The Chosen Few", arranged by Hugo Montenegro, which became a minor regional hit.
With the Belmonts, 1957-1960
Schwartz also signed up Dion's friends, The Belmonts, named after nearby Belmont Avenue. Their breakthrough together came in early 1958, when "I Wonder Why" made # 22 on the national US charts, followed up with "No One Knows" and "Don’t Pity Me" which were also chart hits.
This success won Dion and the Belmonts a place on the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. On 2 February 1959, after playing at Clear Lake, Iowa, Dion decided that he could not afford the $36 cost of a flight to the next venue . The plane crashed, and Holly and the other stars were killed.
In March 1959, Dion and the Belmonts’ next single, "A Teenager In Love", was released, making # 5 in the US pop charts and # 28 in the UK. Their biggest hit, "Where or When", was released in November 1959, and reached #3 on the US charts. However, in early 1960, Dion checked in to hospital for heroin addiction, a problem he had had since his mid-teens. Further single releases for the group that year were less successful, there were musical and financial differences between Dion and members of the Belmonts, and in October 1960 Dion decided to quit for a solo career.
Solo stardom, 1960-1964
1961 album coverBy the end of 1960, Dion had recorded and released his first solo album, Alone With Dion, and the single "Lonely Teenager", which rose to # 12 in the US charts. Follow-ups "Havin’ Fun" and "Kissin’ Game" had less success, and the signs were that Dion would drift onto the cabaret circuit. However, he then recorded, with new vocal group the Del-Satins, an up-tempo number co-written with Ernie Maresca. The record, "Runaround Sue", stormed up the charts, reaching # 1 in the US charts in September 1961, and # 11 in the UK, where he also toured.
For the next single, the record company promoted the A-side, "The Majestic", but it was the B-side, Maresca’s song "The Wanderer", which received the radio plays and again rose swiftly up the charts, reaching # 2 in the US charts in December 1961 and # 10 in the UK. As a classic oldie, it made the UK top twenty again in 1976.
album: "Heroes: Giants Of Early Guitar Rock" (2008)
Come On, Let's Go
Believe What You Say
Bye Bye Love
I Walk The Line
Blue Suede Shoes
Who Do You Love
Sweet Little Rock And Roller
Shake, Rattle And Roll
album: "Tank Full Of Blues" (2012)
Tank Full Of Blues
I Read It (In The Rolling Stone)
album: "New York Is My Home" (2016)
Abraham, Martin And John
Book Of Dreams
Can't We Be Sweethearts
Don't Pity Me
Donna The Prima Donna
He Looks A Lot Like Me
I Wonder Why
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Life Is But A Dream
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
Somebody Nobody Wants
Teenager In Love
This Little Girl
Where Or When