Who is Dion DiMucci?
Dion DiMucci, better known as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter of Italian descent. Regarded as one of the top rock singers of the pre-British Invasion era, he is known for incorporating elements of rock, doo-wop, R&B styles, and straight blues in his muisc. Born in an Italian-American family in New York to a vaudeville entertainer, DiMucci accompanied his father on tours in his childhood and developed an interest in country music. He also developed love for the blues and doo-wop artists he heard performing on the radio and in the local bars. He started recording in the late 1950s, initially as the lead vocalist of Dion and the Belmonts. DiMucci went solo in 1960, producing great hits including "The Wanderer", "Runaround Sue", "Lovers Who Wander" and "Ruby Baby", to name a few. His stardom continued throughout the late 1960s the mid-1970s, earning him praise from the critics who had earlier pegged him as a mere teen idol. In 1989, the legendary singer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Childhood & Early Life
Dion DiMucci was born on July 18, 1939, in Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family. As a kid, he accompanied his father, Pasquale, a vaudeville entertainer, on tours and developed a passion for country music.
In early 1957, he collaborated with Bob and Gene Schwartz of Mohawk Records and recorded the single "The Chosen Few," in which the backing vocals were provided by the group ‘The Timberlanes’.
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Dion DiMucci joined hands with the Belmonts, a vocal group consisting of Carlo Mastrangelo, Angelo D'Aleo and Fred Milano.
The group's breakthrough came in 1958 when their song "I Wonder Why," released via their newly formed Laurie Records, charted at No. 22 on the U.S. charts. This was followed by two more hit tracks "Don't Pity Me” and "No One Knows".
The success of the songs led DiMucci and his pals to join "The Winter Dance Party" tour with the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, Frankie Sardo and other artistes.
Dion and the Belmonts' next song, titled "A Teenager in Love," came up in early 1959. It peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. pop charts and No. 28 in UK. Their biggest hit, "Where or When," also released in November that year, reached the third spot on the U.S. charts.
In October 1960, Dion DiMucci and the Belmonts parted ways after which the former kicked off his solo career with his debut album ‘Alone with Dion’ which featured the hit single "Lonely Teenager”.
The artiste then collaborated with the Del-Satins for the record "Runaround Sue,” which reached No. 1 in the U.S. charts and No. 11 in UK, eventually earning the gold disc status.
His next single "The Wanderer” reached No. 2 in USA and No. 10 in UK. In 1965, DiMucci, along with guitarist John Falbo, bassist Pete Baron and drummer Carlo Mastrangelo formed the group The Wanderers.
In 1966-67, he briefly reunited with the Belmonts, releasing an LP and performing at local clubs before finally disbanding. DiMucci then approached Laurie Records and recorded "Abraham, Martin & John” in August 1968. The success of the song resuscitated his career.
In the next few years, he recorded more mature material. He moved to Warner Brothers label in 1969 and released two albums, both of which failed to impress.
The singer released five albums via DaySpring Records label in the 1980s. These albums that reflected his Christian convictions were ‘Only Jesus’, ‘Inside Job’, ‘I Put Away My Idols’, ‘Kingdom in the Streets’ and ‘Velvet & Steel’.
In 1989, he returned to rock music with the album ‘Yo Frankie,’ which featured Paul Simon, Patty Smyth, Lou Reed, Bryan Adams and k.d. lang. DiMucci then joined Scott Kempner, Frank Funaro and Mike Mesaros in a short-lived band named Little Kings.
In 2006, he came up with the album ‘Bronx in Blue,’ which was nominated for a Grammy. A year later, he released the album ‘Son of Skip James’.
DiMucci teamed up with Paul Simon to release a single titled ‘New York Is My Home’. In May 2017, he released his album ‘Kickin' Child: The Lost Album 1965,’ which featured songs he had recorded in 1965 with Columbia.
In the 1960s, Dion DiMucci emerged as a super star. In 1962, he came up with a set of hit songs he wrote or co-wrote, including "Little Diane" (No. 8), "Lovers Who Wander" (No. 3) and "Love Came to Me" (No. 10). His pop song, ‘Runaround Sue,’ was included in the Rolling Stone list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Family & Personal Life
Dion DiMucci has been married to Susan Butterfield since 1963. The couple has three children.