50 Years Ago Tonight: Dion & The Belmonts Reunite At Madison Square Garden
It was 50 years ago tonight (June 2nd, 1972) that Dion & The Belmonts reunited at New York City’s Madison Square Garden at an oldies show sponsored by local radio station WCBS-FM. Despite Dion DiMucci and the group briefly reuniting in 1967 for an ill-fated studio album, called Together Again, the Garden show was Dion’s first gig with the group in 12 years. Dion played acoustic guitar throughout the night and the group was backed by Billy Vera & The Beaters, who went on to score a 1986 Number One hit with “At This Moment.” A live album of the event was released the following year, titled Reunion: Live At Madison Square Garden.
Dion told us that it wasn’t quite the reunion he expected: “Fred Milano and Carlo Mastrangelo showed up and they said that Angelo (D’Aleo) was sick. And Angelo says he wasn’t asked to be there. We went through with the show, because the Belmonts, they weren’t on the records, ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Ruby Baby,’ they weren’t on a lot of those songs. When all was said and done and I listened to the album, I said, ‘Angelo’s gotta be on there, I can’t release this without his voice.’ (So) I kind of overdubbed him.”
Dion & The Belmonts have performed several times over the years at various Dion solo shows. The Belmonts continued to perform with Fred Milano, who won the rights to the name from the others after a legal battle. Milano died on January 1st, 2012.
In 2005, Dion’s 1987 Radio City Music Hall concert was issued on CD as Dion And Friends Live In New York City. Performing alongside Dion and his band was Belmont Carlo Mastrangelo.
In 2016, Dion released New York Is My Home, featuring Paul Simon duetting with him on the title track.
Also out now is Dion’s long lost 1965 collection, Kickin’ Child, which was originally recorded for Columbia Records but left unreleased until now.
Dion‘s latest album, Stomping Ground ,was released on November 5th, 2021. Pete Townshend supplied the liner notes for the set, which includes contributions from such legends as Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler, Bon Scaggs, Billy F Gibbons, Rickie Lee Jones, Sonny Landreth, Joe Bonamassa, G.E. Smith, Keb’ Mo’, and many others.
Townshend wrote in the album’s notes: “Dion, like a circling star that never fades, generates the energy and fire we need to pull ourselves up and start again. Dion is a star who knows well how to start again, how to keep shining. He looks at his watch every few years. Damn! Let’s make a record. Take care. This one will blow those little white things in our ears right into your brain.”