Dion and the Belmonts was a leading American vocal group of the late 1950s. The group formed when Dion DiMucci, lead singer, (b. July 18, 1939), joined The Belmonts - Carlo Mastrangelo, baritone, (b. October 5, 1938), Freddie Milano, second tenor, (born August 22, 1939), and Angelo D'Aleo, first tenor,(born February 3, 1940) in late 1957.
After an unsuccessful first single, the group was signed to Laurie Records. Their breakthrough came when "I Wonder Why" reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the group appeared for the first time on American Bandstand. They followed it with the ballads "No One Knows" (No. 19) and "Don’t Pity Me" (No. 40).
This success won Dion and the Belmonts their first major tour in late 1958, with The Coasters, Buddy Holly and Bobby Darin, and this was followed up by the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. On 2 February 1959, after playing at the Surf Ballroom, Dion decided that he could not afford the $36 cost of a flight to the next venue. The plane crashed; Holly, Valens, The Big Bopper, and the pilot were killed on 3 February 1959, shortly after midnight. However, the tour continued, with Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Vee being added to the bill as replacements.
In March 1959, Dion and the Belmonts’ next single, "A Teenager in Love", was released, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 28 in the UK Singles Chart, and this was followed by an album, Presenting Dion and the Belmonts. Their biggest hit, "Where or When", was released in November 1959, and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, in early 1960, Dion checked into a hospital for heroin addiction, a problem he had had since his mid-teens. Other singles released for the group that year were less successful. In addition, there were musical and financial disputes between Dion and members of the Belmonts. In October 1960, Dion decided to quit for a solo career. The Belmonts also continued to release records, but with less success.
Dion and the Belmonts reunited in 1966 for the unsuccessful album Together Again on ABC Records, and again in 1972 for a one-off show at Madison Square Garden, recorded and released as a live album.
In 2000 Dion and the Belmonts were inducted in The Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
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