Donna the Prima Donna

Greatly Appreciated


“Donna the Prima Donna”  is a song written by Dion DiMucci and Ernie Maresca and performed by Dion.  The song reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the R&B chart in 1963.  The song appeared on his 1963 album, Donna the Prima Donna.  The song was produced by Robert Mersey and arranged by DiMucci.  The backing group on the song is The Del-Satins.  The song was ranked #86 on Billboard magazine’s Top Hot 100 songs of 1963.  (More from Wikipedia)
Dion DiMucci was one of the leading rock and rollers of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and his work still sounds great to me to this day.  He was the front man for Dion and the Belmonts and had several hits beginning with “I Wonder Why” in 1958.   
Dion became a solo artist by 1960 and had another string of wonderful hit songs, “The Wanderer”, “Runaround Sue”, “Donna the Prima Donna”, and “Ruby Baby” among them.  In the wake of the horrific political assassinations of the 1960’sDion later had another hit song in the summer of 1968 with the simple but highly effective song, “Abraham, Martin and John”. 
(September 2012)
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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 Crieswas by one of Greg Shaws favorite girl groups, Reparata & 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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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 Party), but also Neil Sedaka’s “Oh, Carol!” and “Denise” by Randy and the Rainbows (later covered by Blondie as “Denis”). 

(June 2013/1)
Last edited: March 22, 2021