Dion’s chart career is divided into two eras: (1) Dion & The Belmonts (1958 – 1960); (2) Dion’s solo career (from 1960 onwards). His main labels were Laurie (1958-1963; 1968-1969) and Columbia (1963-1964).
If you are looking for Dion & The Belmonts CDs, I would recommend The Very Best of Dion & The Belmonts (2 CD) on One Day Music (2012), and Teenagers In Love (1957-60)(2 CD set) by Jasmine Records (2011). The latter also contained rare recordings of Dion & The Timberlanes, plus a few uncharted rare gems.
If you are looking for Dion’s solo career on Laurie, the best and most comprehensive collection belongs to the current set being reviewed. More about that later.
If you are looking for Dion’s solo career on Columbia, I would recommend the 2 CD set called The Road I’m On: A Retrospective, or even better, the now out-of-print 3 CD box set called Dion: King of the New York Streets.
This current set by Real Gone Music is a real gem, consisting of 36 songs in 2 CDs. As per usual high standards by Real Gone Music, the songs are arranged chronologically (a- followed by b-sides) from 1960 to 1964, then from 1968 to 1969). All the hits are there, plus many rare gems that are not found in any other compilations, and made their CD-debut here.
Song listing (with chart position and year) is as follows:
01. Lonely Teenager (US 12/1960)
02. Little Miss Blue (b-side, US 96/1960)
03. Havin' Fun (US 42/1961)
04. Northeast End of the Corner (b-side to Havin’ Fun)
05. Kissin' Game (US 82/1961)
06. Heaven Help Me (b-side to Kissin’ Game)
07. Somebody Nobody Wants (US 103/1961)
08. Could Somebody Take My Place Tonight (b-side to Somebody Nobody Wants)
09. Runaround Sue (US 1/1961)
10. Runaway Girl (b-side to Runaround Sue)
11. The Majestic (b-side to The Wanderer, US 36/1961) originally released as a-side
12. The Wanderer (US 2/1961)
13. Lovers Who Wander (US 3/1962)
14. (I Was) Born to Cry (b-side to Lovers Who Wander, US 42/1962)
15. Little Diane (US 8/1962)
16. Lost for Sure (b-side to Little Diane)*rare gem
17. Love Came To Me (US 10/1962)
18. Little Girl (b-side to Love Came To Me)*rare gem
01. Sandy (US 21/1963)
02. Faith (b-side to Sandy)
03. Come Go With Me (US 48/1963)*rare gem
04. King Without A Queen (b-side to Come Go With Me)*rare gem
05. Lonely World (US 101/1963)*rare gem
06. Tag Along (b-side to Lonely World)
07. After The Dance (uncharted)
08. Then I'll Be Tired of You (b-side to After The Dance)
09. Shout (US 108/1964)
10. I Got The Blues
11. Abraham, Martin and John (US 4/1968)
12. Daddy Rollin' (In Your Arms)(b-side to Abraham, Martin and John)
13. Purple Haze (US 63/1969)
14. The Dolphins (b-side to Purple Haze)
15. From Both Sides Now (US 91/1969)*rare gem
16. Sun Fun Song (b-side to From Both Sides Now)
17. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
18. He Looks a Lot Like Me
The sound is also exceptionally remastered with great results. The songs sounded clean and fresh. There is also a 20-page booklet with a well written note by Ed Osborne, plus many colourful picture sleeves of his 45 rpm singles.
REAL GONE MUSIC:
This upcoming label from UK has many exceptional releases so far, including Complete Singles Collection of artists like B.J. Thomas (this set is on its way and I shall review it after I heard it), plus, Timi Yuro, Connie Stevens, Joanie Sommers, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Mark Lindsay, Electric Prunes, Rick Nelson, etc. If you are interested in those artists I just mentioned, please see all my reviews elsewhere on those collections.
Real Gone Music has done an excellent job in bringing us this complete and comprehensive collection of Dion’s solo career on Laurie Records. I wish more reissue labels can follow this approach. If you are looking for songs like Ruby Baby, Donna the Prima Donna and Drip Drop, they belonged to the Columbia label, and are not found here. I still remember the first time I saw Dion on American Bandstand singing A Teenager In Love, I just fell in love with the song and the singer. Singers those days, like Dion, James Darren, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, were all so handsome. The entire 2 CDs were very enjoyable with great sound, and will bring back many happy memories of days gone by. This set is highly recommended.