Dion DiMucci

Greatly Appreciated


Dion DiMucci  (born July 18, 1939), better known mononymously as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, rock and R&B styles — and, most recently, straight blues.  He was one of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era.  He had more than a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 60s.  He is best remembered for the 1961 singles, “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer”, written with Ernie Maresca.  Toward the end of the decade, he shifted his style and produced songs with a more mature, contemplative feeling, such as “Abraham, Martin and John”.  He has continued making music ever since.  Dion was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.   (More from Wikipedia)
The third issue of Who Put the Bomp was subtitled Whenever a Teenager Cries; whereas I grew up with the other two songs and loved them both, I wasn't familiar with this song.  Their 1964 song “Whenever a Teenager Cries” was by one of Greg Shaws favorite girl groupsReparata & the Delrons.  (I did find the song on YouTube, and it is another great one without a doubt). 


The songwriter is Ernie Maresca; while I didn’t really know that name either, I certainly know his work:  He wrote or co-wrote several of the biggest hits by Dion, including “Runaround Sue”, “The Wanderer” and ”Donna the Prima Donna”.  Maresca was also the songwriter behind one of my own favorite lesser known early 1960’s songs, “Party Girl” by Bernadette Carroll.  I stumbled upon the song again on a compilation album not that long ago. 


(May 2013)

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At the top of the list of “might have been” in rock and roll has to be the crash on February 3, 1959 in an Iowa cornfield of a small airplane carrying three early rockers to their graves:  Buddy HollyRitchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.  The stories around this tragic event include those about several men who were not on the plane for one reason or another, most famously future country music star Waylon Jennings, who had recently joined Buddy Holly’s band after the break-up of his previous band the Crickets.  Also, Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts) couldn’t afford the $36 cost, so he also decided not to board the plane. 


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Ritchie Valens follow-up single, “Donna” was completely different and became a bonafide hit, peaking at #2 on the charts at the end of 1958.  “Donna” inspired a host of other songs addressed to female loves, most directly Dion’s “Donna the Prima Donna” (Dion and the Belmonts were also along on the Winter Dance Tour), but also Neil Sedaka’s “Oh, Carol!” and “Denise” by Randy and the Rainbows (later covered by Blondie as “Denis”). 

(June 2013/1)
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But I likely will keep putting out what I call the “Story of the Month” (I have my web pages broken down into short “Items” and longer “Stories” on whomever or whatever I am talking about) that I uncover as I load up the web site. These Stories are on well known (well, better known anyway) songs and albums and rock bands and other topics that are not of the Under Appreciated variety. I started those last year and meant to list the ones in my year-end post last time but forgot, so here is that list from the past two years:
December 2013The Standells 
January 2014 – (skipped)
February 2014Hasil Adkins 
March 2014Bobby Darin 
April 2014Nuggets 
May 2014The Nerves 
June 2014The Outsiders (American band)
September 2014The Piltdown Man and Brontosaurus 
October 2014Walter/Wendy Carlos 
November 2014The Trashmen 
December 2014John Birch Society Blues 
January 2015John Mellencamp 
February 2015Child Is Father to the Man 
March 2015Dion DiMucci 
April 2015Scotch and Soda 
May 2015Stiv Bators/Greg Shaw 
June 2015Walk on the Wild Side 
July 2015Lola
August 2015Bob Dylan the Protest Singer
(Year 6 Review)
Last edited: April 8, 2021