Here is a book that is an interesting juxtaposition. A Rock Star who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame writes a new biography. In it there are pictures of this star along with pictures of him with people such as Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, and Scott Hahn. Yes Scott Hahn. I figure this is the first Rock and Roll autobiography co-authored by a patristic scholar – that is Mike Aqulina.
Many though will have picked up by now that this is a new book by Dion DiMucci who is just most simply known as Dion. The book is “Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth.”
I was already aware that Dion was a revert as I had seen him on EWTN before and have heard parts of his conversion story on EWTN Radio. This book though much more in depth in regards to his life and his conversion to the Church.
His story begins with his life as a youth that besides performing music at a young age included being a gang member in the Bronx. There are some very interesting stories told here of this part of his life – especially his interactions with a Father Percione a man who was very much a shepherd of his parish. While Dion did not follow much of the advice of this priest, his talks with him on subjects such as virtue remained with him throughout his life and provided markers for him on his later path to conversion. I really enjoyed his descriptions of this priest and how active he was in his neighborhood.
He describes his entrance professionally into the music business and his meteoric rise where he soon became a teenage millionaire. His path parallels so many stories which include sudden fame and the path of increasing drug intake. We think of the Sixties as the start of the Drug, Sex, and Rock n’ Roll era – but the Fifties has it’s share of the same problems. In this book he does not dwell on those aspects of his life other than how they affected him on a personal level and especially his lack of a spiritual life. There are though plenty of stories about this time that he recounts especially the famous episode of the coin flip and the subsequent crash that killed Buddy Holly, The Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. He sets the record straight on some aspects of this story along with his disagreement concerning the famous line America Pie about the day the music died.
This biography is interesting on several levels. First you have a good story about a musical career and the musical changes he has gone through in that career. Most importantly you have a spiritual biography that takes you from the days of a non-religious family and his later movement towards faith and the spiritual landmarks along the way. The acts of grace that allowed him to leave behind drugs and alcohol and to move first to Protestantism and then later to the Catholic Church. I really enjoyed the style of the book in that it was often quite humorous and his being able to laugh at himself contributed to that. The book is not pretentious in any way. Another important thread in the book is first his pursuit of a girl in the Bronx who later became his wife and has stayed his wife.
I found it to be quite a good read.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Dion — The Wanderer Talks Truth. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.
Miguel is spelled with a g, not a q.
I was a BIG Dion fan back in the early 60’s, remember him well. Although I must admit my first rock & roll hero was another 1 name star – Fabian! Never as talented but I thought he was so ‘cool’ man.
Still turn up the car radio when a Dion song starts to play. Glad he found his way home again. Will buy the book.
I second your recommendation. It is a fun and breezy book — short, and with short chapters. A great summer read. Dion was a millionaire by the time he was 19! All the people and events we now think of as “important” were just part of life for him and it’s interesting to hear what he has to say about living through them, about faith, and about life. Give it a try!
Plus, I just love “Runaround Sue.”