truth is, Dion is a sensible, curious person with stories. I mean real stories. now 79, his memory is abrupt and bright. For an hour and a one-half, we discussed his temper career. Who in real life is Runaround Sue, The Wanderer ? What does Dion think about the british rock invasion of the early on sixties ? What does he remember about Del Shannon ? How does he feel as the guy who says he gave his seat to Ritchie Valens when that plane crashed killing Valens, J. P. “ The Big Bopper ” Richardson and Buddy Holly en path to their future gig in Fargo, ND, on Feb. 3, 1959 ?
Following is part one in a serial of edit interview excerpts that answer all of those questions and more, including news program of a new act about Dion ‘s life sentence set to open in New York soon. Part 1 below focuses on the tragic plane crash.
Capitol Booking Corporation
Jim Clash : Do you think you have played “ Runaround Sue ” more frequently than you ’ ve done media interviews [ laughs ] ?
Dion DiMucci: Definitely [ laughs ]. I never got into this business to do interviews. It was always about the music .
Clash: Let ‘s depart with a life-changing event. In 1959, a plane with The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly crashed while you all were on the Winter Dance Party tour, killing all three stars and the fender. You were 19 at the time. What are your recollections now ?
DiMucci: It did change my biography. I got to know Buddy Holly reasonably well. I introduced him to Manny ’ s Music on 48th Street in New York and a invest shop on Third Avenue [ laughs ]. We all went out on that tour in January 1959. We rehearsed in Chicago first. then we drove up to Milwaukee in a bus. It was not the typical bus you see today, like a Golden Eagle. It was a yellow church school bus topology out of a park set. That was it .
It was a draw of fun in the back of that bus with Ritchie Valens, Buddy and The Big Bopper sharing each other ‘s songs. After two weeks into the go, the bus had broken down indeed many times. That nox in Clear Lake, IA, Buddy just got fed up. He was a little older, 22 I think. He was very decisive. He impressed me because I was 19 and insecure. He decided to charter a plane so we could get to the following blockage, get a shower, get some sleep, get our wash done. It was like 400 miles in blinding coke to Fargo, ND .
so he chartered a Beechcraft Bonanza. That night we were all tired after the show. He took us into this room. And he said, “ Listen, there ’ s merely four seats on the airplane. ” The fender took up one and there was room for only three others. One of the headliners could n’t go. sol lashkar-e-taiba ’ s flip a coin to see who gets to fly and who goes on the busbar. Ritchie was sick and was n’t truly crazy about flying. Anyway we flipped the coin, and I won the flip .
then we found out it was going to cost $ 36 for each of us. It would have been less than a two-hour flight. On the bus, we would have to drive all night to Fargo. But when he said $ 36, a light went off in my read/write head because my church father paid that monthly for rent in the Bronx. So I thought, ‘ I ’ m not going to spend a solid month ’ s lease just for a flight. ’ My primary coil argue for not going was the $ 36 ! so I said to Ritchie, “ Please, you go on the plane. Take your coat. Stay warm. I ’ ll watch your guitars. ” Buddy then said to me : “ Watch my guitar, besides. Take concern of it like you would take care of your testicles [ laughs ]. ” I said o. later on, when I saw Peter Townshend [ The Who ] break a Fender guitar on-stage, I thought it was a profanation. Guitars were like gold to us .
anyhow, the four of them left for the airport around midnight. I got on the bus with some of the back-up musicians. The plane took off, and within five minutes crashed in a storm. The next good morning, when we showed up and pulled in to the hotel in Fargo, I remember it as a cheery day. We got off the bus and the locals were in the anteroom watching this black-and-white television receiver. It was coming across the screen that these three rock ‘n’ roll artists had died in a plane crash. Jim, it was hard to get my mind around it. I didn ’ t even know how to grab onto that. It baffled me. I have a estimable memory before that happened, but after I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate remember besides much.
We stayed out on tour for two more weeks. I was singing some of Ritchie ’ s songs, some of Buddy ’ sulfur. We got telegrams from Bobby Darin, Phil Spector, Dick Clark, Paul Anka. Back then it was telegram, not text. When I last came back to the Bronx, there was no grief rede. My parents didn ’ metric ton speak about it. Nothing. Years late, I talked to my father. He said that when he heard the news it felt like getting open-heart surgery without the anesthesia. My baby, Joanie, was making a peanut butter sandwich and just collapsed on her knees. She didn ’ t even know who it was in the plane barge in. The news was good that three rock-and-rollers had died .
courtesy of Dion DiMucci
In the anteroom of the hotel, we had gotten on the line, making all of these calls. But cipher intend of calling Ritchie ’ s mother. Or Buddy ’ s family. We didn ’ t have their numbers. A lot of people didn ’ metric ton even get through to their own homes because the lines were so busy. So a fortune of these families precisely heard it on radio, like my family. radio receiver was bad in those days .
Those three guys affected my animation on a lot of levels. Buddy told me once, “ Dion, I don ’ triiodothyronine know how to succeed, but I know how to fail. Try to please everybody, and you ’ ll go nowhere. ” If he didn ’ thyroxine tell me that, I probably never would have done “ Runaround Sue, ” “ The Wanderer, ” “ Abraham, Martin and John. ” I miss those guys. Thank God that in my faith, relationships never end. I constantly ask for their prayers, because I feel they are closer to the beatific vision, and are helping me out. I have three angels up there .
Editor ‘s note : In another popular account of this narrative, it is said that musician Waylon Jennings is the one who gave up his seat on the plane that fatal night. Jennings died in 2002 .
[ In the next parts of this interview series, we will discuss the british Invasion, Del Shannon, who Runaround Sue and The Wanderer are in real life, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, how Dion kicked his drug habit and more. Stay tuned to the Forbes channel. ]
part 2 : Rocker Dion DiMucci On His Big Hit The Wanderer, Del Shannon
part 3 : Who Was Runaround Sue ? Dion In His own Words
partially 4 : What Does Rocker Dion Think About Robert Kennedy, Paul Simon And The Sgt. Pepper ’ south LP ?
part 5 : Rocker Dion Discusses A New Play About His Life, How He Kicked His Heroin Habit
share 6 : Rocker Dion On His early Years, When He Realized He Could Sing, Is He Wealthy ?
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part 7 : rock Icon Dion On The american Dream, God, Fame