Alley GatorPoster topBLOGArticles and CommentsSongsTimelinePlaylistsAlbumsDatabaseAlbum ListsArtistsPantheonArtist ListsResourcesBits and PiecesTips & AdviceBooks & Websites

Comments - Artists

Alley Gator says:
03/22/12 5:15 pm
Dion has always been a personal favorite of mine. As much as I love to mimic Carlo's ballistic bass vocal on "I Wonder Why," which introduced the world to Dion & The Belmonts in 1958, it was Dion's cool swagger and vocal style that I aimed to emulate all the way through high school. The young Dion produced an awesome string of solo singles in the early 60s, the most well-known of which are "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer," and "Ruby Baby." No rocker could compete with Roy Orbison's otherworldly voice in those years, but it was Dion's songs that I could sing with most conviction.

His timely and moving 1968 recording of "Abraham, Martin & John" surprised and delighted most of us who had lost touch with Dion after the Beatles changed the rock & roll landscape. Although he made a bunch of good records in the interim, I didn't tune into his contemporary music again until 1989, the year in which he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and later released a good rock album, Yo Frankie.

Fast forward to the recent past: Dion has been a vibrant presence at live shows, including the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert in 2009, and has revived his recording career by creating an unexpected niche as an utterly convincing blues singer-songwriter. He's released a series of blues albums, each better than the last. His current release, A Tankful of Blues, has been in heavy rotation in Gatorland for the past several weeks.

Dion is well-represented in the Alley TImeline, CD Database, and Pantheon. One special treat is a pair of samples you can hear at "I Wonder Why" on the Timeline. You can compare an obscure song I recently discovered, "I Don't Know" by The Keynotes, which appears to have been the inspiration for "I Wonder Why." Listen for yourself - and leave a comment with your reaction.

What are your favorite Dion songs? Have you checked out anything he's done lately?

(Dion was our Featured Artist for the weeks of March 23 and March 30, 2012.)

cornercat says:
03/24/12 12:39 pm
Dion was/is one of those rare artists with enormous talent, who was able to reinvent himself in a completely believable way. Many try, few succeed. Hard to think of a Dion record from the early days where I don't marvel at the tone of his voice and his ability to sneak serious vocal riffs and big band rhythms into rock and doowop tunes.

Watching the video of Wonder Why reminded me of the curious intersection between what we fans think of as "rock and roll," and show business. Could this have been any more polished and choreographed? Loved it.

Here's a MUCH better version of Dion doing Ab, Mart, and John, live, IMO. He's playing the guitar part from the record and singing the living tar out of it. Dion A,M& J 1968
Alley Gator says:
03/24/12 7:01 pm
cornercat said: Here's a MUCH better version of Dion doing Ab, Mart, and John, live, IMO. He's playing the guitar part from the record and singing the living tar out of it. Dion A,M& J 1968
Thanks so much for this link, cornercat. I've already replaced the inferior version I'd posted on the Home Page. According to the YouTube source, this version was performed on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, November 17, 1968.
cornercat says:
03/24/12 9:02 pm
cornercat said: Here's a MUCH better version of Dion doing Ab, Mart, and John, live, IMO. He's playing the guitar part from the record and singing the living tar out of it. Dion A,M& J 1968
Alley Gator said: Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, November 17, 1968.
This is actually one of my favorite all-time TV moments. There was a musicians strike that week and the Smothers Bros had to get people who could accompany themselves to perform. Dion's well thought out guitar part (it's not just singer- songwriter 101 guitar, either) which was all but buried by lush orchestration on the original record got to shine here as they only were able to use singers for the background. You knew singers weren't musicians, right? :-)... Donovan also appeared on the show and did a charismatic turn accompanying himself, sitting on a rug, but Dion's hair raising performance, pretty much just vocal and guitar was, for me, the highlight. I recorded it on reel to reel audio at the time, when they reran it, and was thrilled to see it again after all these years on youtube. I still think it is fantastic.
cornercat says:
03/25/12 12:18 pm
cornercat said: Here's a MUCH better version of Dion doing Ab, Mart, and John, live, IMO. He's playing the guitar part from the record and singing the living tar out of it. Dion A,M& J 1968
Alley Gator said: Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, November 17, 1968.
cornercat said: Dion's well thought out guitar part (it's not just singer- songwriter 101 guitar, either) which was all but buried by lush orchestration
Just to be clear, I have no idea if he actually played any of the guitars on the hit, but the part he plays live very much captures the style and licks from the record.
barbara ann 1945 says:
03/26/12 2:29 pm
Love having Dion as this week's featured artist. "I Wonder Why" is an all-time favorite song and would land a place in my top 100. It's just a perfectly crafted and executed pop song to me. It's emotion is genuine, lyrics poingnent and rhythm compelling. A great song to dance to, I remember.

That rare 1958 footage was, of course, from The Dick Clark Beech-Nut Show, as evidenced by the kids in the audience wearing green and white "IFIC" buttons and chomping on gum. I went to that show three or four times in 1959 and somehow lost my IFIC button along the way. I've looked on EBAY. No luck. YET.

OK....here's my Dion brush with greatness. His sister, Donna DiMucci, went to my high school: White Plains High School, and sat next to me in my sophomore health class.