DION (Dion Francis DiMucci) was one of the most popular artists in the late 50's and early 60's just before the Beatles and the British Invasion changed everything. He started singing doo-wop on street corners in the Bronx with three other guys who called themselves The Belmonts (Carlo Mastrangelo, Fred Milano, and Angelo D'Aleo) after Belmont Avenue.
In 1958 they had their first hit record, "I Wonder Why," that went Top 20. They were booked on the ill-fated "Winter Dance Party" tour, and Dion was invited to go on the airplane with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). Dion said that he passed on the offer because his share of the cost $38 would have covered his parent's rent back home. After the tragic accident Dion and the Belmonts continued on the tour with the new guy, Bobby Vee.
Then in 1959 they released the iconic single, "Teenager in Love" that went Top 5 on the Pop Chart, and made them Teenage Idols. In 1960 Dion went solo and joined writer/producer Ernie Maresca to write and record his first #1, RUNAROUND SUE, that scored a Gold Disc for his wall. Lightening struck again with the follow-up, "The Wanderer" and he became a bona fide star. However, since his teen years he'd had an addiction to heroin, and he checked into a hospital to try and kick the habit.
When he returned to recording, legendary producer John Hammond suggesed he change his style to Blues oriented material that was popular at the time. That didn't work and his management was very upset that he'd left his signature sound, so he returned to the Pop World.
In 1968 Dion had what he called, "A religious experience," and finally was drug-free, and clean as a whistle. Then he recorded the tune, "Abraham, Martin and John," about the murder of three great Americans that caught the zeitgeist of the time and went to #4 on the Pop Chart, selling over a million records and going Gold. That revived his career, and he was considered a serious artist again.
Dion released several Christian themed albums that didn't do well, and essentially then became an oldies act, drawing large crowds of fans at every show in the 1990's. At the last report Dion DiMucci, now an amazing 78 years of age, is still touring playing Clubs and Concerts.
Dion was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame by an emotional Lou Reed in 1989, and the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002 for "Runaround Sue," his first hit single and the song we've decided to use in this film clip from 1961 with nicely restored picture and sound. Rock On! @therealdonrocks