Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SHG: Dion: "The Wanderer"

Dion: “The Wanderer”
Entered the chart on: 12/18/61
Peaked on: 2/24/62
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler

I was wondering when I’d get around to Dion, who rose from the ranks of Italian-American street-corner doo-wop groups in the Bronx (The Belmonts, in this case) to the top of the singles charts. He started questionably (as a soloist, at any rate) with “Lonely Teenager” but there’s no doubt that he had some serious pipes, and could really deliver the goods when presented with A-material. I get the feeling, unless my memory’s failing me, that the lyrics to this one are questionable for other reasons, but we’ll get to that.

Yeah...the lyrics to this one are pretty sleazy, about a serial love-maker who’s probably looking for a nasty case of V.D. if he keeps up this behavior. That said, there’s something oddly irresistible about this one, the shuffle beat, the sax solo and Dion’s raunchy vocal lead, which captures the mood of the song perfectly.

Others have pointed out the double-standard of this song following up “Runaround Sue.” The protagonist of this song is the male equivalent of Sue, but while there’s all sorts of finger-wagging towards Sue and her wanton ways, the subject of “The Wanderer” is deemed “cool.” Yes, it’s incredibly sexist. I still highly enjoy both songs.

A product of its time, sure, but an enjoyable one all the same. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must.

Rating: 4

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