Hello, Dion and The Belmonts in 1959 already had three big national hits under their belts. They were so popular that you couldn’t turn your AM radio on without hearing one of their hits. Hits, oh yes they were hits, songs like the classic, “I WONDER WHY”, “NO ONE KNOWS” and “DON’T PITY ME”, had spent 41 total weeks on the Billboard Top 100 in 1958. They were frequent guests on TV and their music was not only popular with the pop market, but was also popular in the R&B and Doo-Wop genre’s.
On April 20. 1959 their biggest hit to date entered the Billboard Hot 100. “A TEENAGER IN LOVE” written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and given that special Dion and The Belmonts treatment, began its dash up the national chart and before the smoke could clear, they had the #5 record in America. “A Teenager In Love” remained on the Hot 100 for 15 weeks. It is considered one of the greatest songs in Rock and Roll History. It has since be selected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the songs that helped shape rock and roll. The song is about a teenager, who, one day is happy, the next day feels so bad and asks the question, “why must I be a teenager in love”. Dion’s voice with all of its feelings and emotion, sells the song, as if you were singing it yourself in your teenage years. The Belmonts are wonderful with their harmony, the record is a complete success.
On the “B” side of Dion and The Belmonts hit is a good ballad, that receives air-play in some markets, but because of the success of the “A” side it pretty much goes un-noticed by radio, but not buy the record buying public. That song is “I’VE CRIED BEFORE” and in it Dion’s distinctive voice sings of the pain he is feeling over a failed love and how he has cried, but he’s gonna cry some more. “I’ve Cried Before” did not chart, but it’s as good as any ballad the group recorded for Laurie Records.
There would be more hits in 1959 and into 1960, then Dion would pursue a solo career that is still going strong into 2011. “A Teenager In Love”, maybe it was so popular because it dealt with the pain a teenager feels, the ups and the downs, or maybe it was the way Dion and The Belmonts, just flat-out sang the song. One thing is for sure, this million-seller is a huge part of the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll” and a song that has long been a favorite of oldies radio and the generation that first made it a hit.
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