THE BELMONTS (without Dion)
The history of the Belmonts is usually linked to that of their lead singer, Dion (DiMucci), with whom they had their biggest hits. However, the partnership of Dion and the Belmonts lasted only a little over two years, and the group existed prior to and a long time after his time with them. Angelo D'Aleo (born February 3, 1940, first tenor), Fred Milano (born August 22, 1939, second tenor) and Carlo Mastrangelo (born October 5, 1938, baritone) were friends from the area around Belmont Avenue in the Bronx in New York City. The attended Roosevelt High School where they started singing together. As a trio they recorded a single for the Mohawk label in 1957, "Teenage Clementine"/"Santa Margarita". The A-side can be heard on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX5phwT-q1A Also on Mohawk was Dion DiMucci who joined the group in early 1958. After one flop single for Mohawk ("We Went Away"/"Tag Along"), Dion and the Belmonts moved to Laurie Records, where they had 9 charting records in 26 months, starting with "I Wonder Why" (# 22). They hit the Top 10 twice, first with "A Teenager In Love" (# 5, 1959), then with "Where Or When" (# 3, 1960).
In 1960, Dion decided to pursue a solo career. By then he had developed a heroin addiction, which made him unreliable, so the three others were not unhappy to let him go. The split was an amicable one, though. They carried on as the Belmonts, with Carlo taking over the lead singing spot. After one last single for Laurie, "We Belong Together" (the Robert and Johnny hit), the trio started their own label, initially named Surprise, then Sabrina and finally Sabina. Unsurprisingly, the first release on this new label was by the Belmonts themselves. The beat ballad "Tell Me Why" first saw a release on Surprise 1000, then on Sabrina 500, and after it had reached the # 18 spot on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1961, it also got a UK release on Pye International N 25094. A promising start, but it would remain their biggest hit without Dion, in spite of five further chart entries with Sab(r)ina singles. "Come On Little Angel" (written by Ernie Maresca) made the Top 30 in the summer of 1962, peaking at # 28, with a 14-week run. Allegedly, Ernie Maresca first offered his composition "The Wanderer" to the Belmonts, but they turned it down, after which Dion had a # 2 hit with the song. In May 1962, Mastrangelo was replaced by Frank Lyndon. The final Sabina release was a remake of the Del-Vikings' "Come Go With Me" in 1964, after which the label folded and the Belmonts moved to United Artists. While Dion had a successful solo career in the first half of the 1960s, the Belmonts were struggling to adjust to the changing musical tastes.
In 1966 Dion and the Belmonts (including Mastrangelo) were briefly reunited for an unsuccessful album on ABC-Paramount, "Together Again". Not long thereafter, both DiMucci and Mastrangelo left the Belmonts again, with Lyndon returning. Lyndon was later replaced by Warren Gradus, and later stlll, they were a quartet with Milano, D'Aleo, Gradus and Daniel Elliott, who joined in 1974. Amidst the oldies boom of the early 1970s, the Belmonts recorded an a cappella LP for Buddah, "Cigars, Acappella, Candy". Dion and the three original Belmonts reunited again for a one-off show at Madison Square Garden in New York, recorded in mid-1972 and released as a live LP in 1973. The year 1976 saw the group recording another album, "Cheek To Cheek", for Strawberrry Records. In 1981, the Belmonts recorded a single with Freddy Cannon entitled "Let's Put the Fun Back In Rock 'n' Roll" (MiaSound 1002), which charted for four weeks, peaking at # 81 in Billboard. In the mid-1980s, Dion DiMucci also recorded with a group of Belmonts, which included Mastrangelo. Fred Milano and Warren Gradus claimed trademark infringement against DiMucci and won the lawsuit. The current Belmonts, featuring Dan Elliott, Fred Milano, Warren Gradus and Frank DeLigio still perform 50 to 100 shows each year.
Acknowledgements : All Music Guide (Bruce Eder), Wikipedia
CD's : The Ace label in the UK has released several CD's by the Belmonts
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