Golden Oldie of the Week

15/12/2020

Classic tracks that still pack the perfect punch - 
Dion - 'The Wanderer'

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47935618
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47935618

Whilst we are blessed with fresh new tunes at our fingertips on a daily basis, there's a multitude of bangers still waiting for the latest generation to rediscover them.


This week's Golden Oldie is "The Wanderer", first recorded by Dion in 1961.


Dion DiMucci, known mononymously as Dion, was born in New York in 1939 and developed a taste for the entertainment industry through touring with his father, a vaudeville entertainer himself.


Dion enjoyed country artists such as Hank Williams and began creating a cappella riffs with his friends around the Bronx at a young age.


Dion got his big break in 1957 when he and three friends, who were already performing as a doo-wop group called The Belmonts, fused together to form Dion and the Belmonts.


The now four-piece hit the U.S charts in 1958 with "I Wonder Why", which was followed by more U.S Billboard hits "No One Knows" and "Don't Pity Me".


This national success led to the group being invited on the now infamous "Winter Dance Party Tour" which saw Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper killed in a plane crash. Dion himself was invited on the plane but declined the offer due to the high expenses.

The wreckage of the plane crash that killed rock stars Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley), Ritchie Valens (Richard Steven Valenzuela), and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.) On February 3, 1959 outside of Clearlake, Iowa. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The wreckage of the plane crash that killed rock stars Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley), Ritchie Valens (Richard Steven Valenzuela), and The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.) On February 3, 1959 outside of Clearlake, Iowa. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


The turn of the decade brought Dion into international stardom. His song "Runaround Sue" not only reached number one in the U.S, yet brought him acclaim in the United Kingdom when the single charted at number eleven.


However, Dion is probably best remembered for bluesy rock and roll hit "The Wanderer". Originally released as a B-Side, the song was soon favoured to A-Side "The Majestic", and stories a travelling man and his many loves when on the road.


Dion has said of "The Wanderer", 'It's a really sad song ... In the fifties, you didn't get that dark'.


Despite these undertones, the song reached number two in the U.S and number ten in the U.K, with a re-release of the track making its way into U.K top 20.


"The Wanderer" reached wider audiences in 2015 when it was chosen for the trailer of video game Fallout 4, much to the objection of DiMucci, who spoke unfavourably of the glorification of violence throughout the game.


The legacy of the song lives on. A cover version by Status Quo charted in five different countries, and the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bad Company, and The Beach Boys have all performed the classic tune at some point.


Though just 2 minutes 51 seconds long, the song is rich with musical history, combining classic blues influences of Muddy Waters with traditional noise of rock and roll emergence throughout.


It's significance was recognised by Rolling Stone who included it their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


Dion is still going, with new releases out as recent as this festive period. See what he's up to on his website here and listen to him on Spotify