14 Songs, 25 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dion DiMucci’s artistic journey remains a fascinating one, and the high points of his career’s first decade are offered on The Essential Dion (2005). Together with the Belmonts, he had scored two still-enduring singles in 1961 with “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” as galvanizing a pair of hits as any rock act of the era could claim. On these and similar tunes, Dion brought a near-operatic passion to his take on street-corner doo-wop; moreover, his original material showed an earthy intelligence and sure feel for rhythm. Worthy follow-ups like “Lovers Who Wander” and the urbanely bluesy “Ruby Baby” followed, and “Drip Drop” and “Donna The Prima Donna” marked the close of the first phase of Dion’s career. Battling a serious drug problem and changes in the music market, he retreated from the spotlight before re-emerging as an acoustic-oriented solo balladeer. This radical makeover let to some of his very finest work, and his poignant version of “Abraham, Martin And John” deservedly earned him a Top Five single in late 1968. The song provides an inspiring coda to this satisfying survey of Dion’s music.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dion DiMucci’s artistic journey remains a fascinating one, and the high points of his career’s first decade are offered on The Essential Dion (2005). Together with the Belmonts, he had scored two still-enduring singles in 1961 with “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” as galvanizing a pair of hits as any rock act of the era could claim. On these and similar tunes, Dion brought a near-operatic passion to his take on street-corner doo-wop; moreover, his original material showed an earthy intelligence and sure feel for rhythm. Worthy follow-ups like “Lovers Who Wander” and the urbanely bluesy “Ruby Baby” followed, and “Drip Drop” and “Donna The Prima Donna” marked the close of the first phase of Dion’s career. Battling a serious drug problem and changes in the music market, he retreated from the spotlight before re-emerging as an acoustic-oriented solo balladeer. This radical makeover let to some of his very finest work, and his poignant version of “Abraham, Martin And John” deservedly earned him a Top Five single in late 1968. The song provides an inspiring coda to this satisfying survey of Dion’s music.

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