Dion

  • Doo-wop, rock and R&B artist born Dion DiMucci in 1939 in the Bronx New York.
  • His father was a vaudeville performer, and Dion often traveled with his father to shows. He developed a love of blues, doo-wop, and country music. He sang on street corners in the Bronx to develop his vocal skills.
  • In 1957, he auditioned with a record label, singing lead on a song that was pre-recorded with everything except the lead vocal. The backing vocals were by a group called The Timberlanes. A single was released, called The Chosen Few, by Dion and the Timberlanes, even though Dion had never met his backup singers.
  • Soon after, Dion recruited 3 friends from the Bronx, and the record company signed all 4. The resulting group, Dion and the Belmonts, released 2 studio albums, in 1958 and 1961. Eleven singles were released during this time. A Teenager in Love peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Where Or When made it to #3.
  • In 1961, Dion decided to move forward with a solo career. From 1961 to 1963, 7 albums were released. During this time, he had his biggest hits. Runaround Sue was his only #1 hit. Rolling Stone ranks it at #351 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. His next single was The Wanderer, one of his signature songs, which reached #2 on the Hot 100 chart. The Rolling Stone Greatest Songs list puts it at #243. Other top 5 hits were Lovers Who Wander and Ruby Baby. 
  • In 1965, Dion formed a new group to back him, called The Wanderers. Several singles were released, but nothing was successful. In 1966, he reunited with The Belmonts. An album was released, but again, nothing was successful.
  • Dion had a religious experience in 1968. He kicked his heroin addition, and approached his old record company looking for a contract. They agreed on the condition that he record the song Abraham, Martin & John, a song about the assassinations of Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, and the Kennedy brothers. He agreed – and the song was a hit, reaching #4 on the Hot 100 chart, and selling over a million copies.
  • Over the next 10 years, Dion recorded music that was contemplative and subdued. Eight albums were released, but none were commercially successful. In 1979, he became a born-again Christian, and he released 5 albums of Christian music between 1980 and 1986.
  • He returned to rock music in 1989 with a new album, with collaborations with Paul Simon, Lou Reed, k.d. lang, and others. That same year, Dion was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • He has continued to release new music, with albums released in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2016. These records all charted highly in the Top Blues Albums chart. He also released an album in 2017 called Kickin’ Child: The Lost Columbia Album 1965, a record of 15 songs that he recorded in 1965 but were never released by Columbia records. Critics love it – Thom Jurek from AllMusic writes that “it’s absolutely one of the greatest folk-rock records ever.”
  • Look closely at the cover of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – many consider it the most iconic album cover of all time. You will see only 2 musical artists on the cover (in addition to The Beatles) – Bob Dylan and Dion.
  • An interesting career for this rock legend. Give a listen to his hit The Wanderer.

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