"The Wanderer

                             History of the Song "The Wanderer"




                                              Ernie Maresca  

 "The Wanderer"
as some people know it is one of my favorite songs of all time! 
 I don't really know why. But as I sat back and thought about it I came up with a few reasons. 
 I guess it starts from my childhood days listening to my older brother Anthony and sister       Diane laying DION 45 RPM records. Then the rest falls into place. The Melody/Beat, the opening  cords from the guitar, Instruments (especially the Sax break) and then the lyric's. But from day one, I, like many other people have my own interpretation what the song means.
In the following DION explains the real meaning of the song.
"The Wanderer" written by DION along with Mr. Ernie Maresca and of course originally recorded by DION on lead vocals. It reached #2 on the Billboard Charts in the USA in 1962.
Mr. Maresca by the way had co-written DION's previous #1 Hit "Runaround Sue."
As the story goes Mr. Maresca intended "The Wanderer" to be recorded by another group known as "Nino & the Ebbtides." (known for the song "Those Oldies But Goodies")...Nino passed on it in favor of another Maresca song. So DION recorded "The Wanderer" as a B-Side to his follow-up single "The Majestic," a song which his record company had chosen for him. When the 45 was released to Radio Stations, DJ's flipped the record over and prefered "The Wanderer" which was recorded in November of 1961 and entered the charts in December of 1961 and rose to #2 in early 1962. It also reached #10 in the UK and #1 in Australia......."The Wanderer" still to this day, many people think it was a hit by DION & the Belmonts when essentially the background vocals are with a Doo-Wop singing group known as "The Del-Satins" led by Stan Ziska who later formed the hub of Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge.
DION said of "The Wanderer" - "At it's root's it is more then meets the eye." "The Wanderer" is black music filtered through an italian neighborhood that comes out with an attitude." "It's my perception of a lot of songs like "I'm A Man" by Bo Diddley or "Hoochie Coohie Man" by Muddy Waters." "But you know, "The Wanderer" is really a sad song." "A lot of guys don't understand that." "Bruce Springsteen was the only guy who accurately expressed what that song was about." - "It's" -  "I roam from Town to Town and go through life without a care." - "I'm as happy as a clown with my two fists of iron, but I'm going nowhere.".......
"In the  fifties, you didn't get that dark."  "It sounds like a lot of fun but it's about going nowhere."!
Now what a lot of people do not know. The writer Ernie Maresca original demo of the song, the lyrics were  -  "with my two fists of iron and my bottle of beer." and the change to "with my two fists of iron but I'm going nowhere" had been at the record company's insistence of the change of lyrics.
"The Wanderer" after all these years is like fine wine! The song gets better and better to listen to! Although recorded and covered by many Bands & Artist. Today when DION sings it on stage. The Electricity, Excitement and Beat of the Song is like when DION sang and played it in the early 60's......Keep Rockin' DION & "The Wanderer"......"Thank You" Mr. Ernie Maresca!

                                                       Some other Interesting Facts

  ..In the song Dion is warning Flo, Jane and Mary to stay clear of The Wanderer, Dion told Rolling Stone magizine in 1975: "You say to a chick, stay away from that guy. And she would say, "What guy?"...Chicks loved a rebel."
...Dion told Bluswax magizine in 2009: "You've got a veneer of what a man is. The guy's goin to hell, but he's having a lot of fun doin' it."
"The big inspiration was a little bit of "Kansas City," because that song was popular at the time and I loved it. The other big inspiration was this kid in the neighborhood, I think his name was Jackie Burns. he was a sailor and he had tattoos all over him, like he had 'Flo' on his left arm, 'Mary' on his right. Janie was the girl that he was going to be with the next night and then he put 'Rosie' on his chest and he had it covered up with a battleship. Every time he went out with a
girl, he got a new tattoo. So the guy was worth a song!"
....Another Inspiration was Ruggero Leoncavallo's 1893 opera Pagliacci, which recounts the tragedy of a jealous husband in a commedia dell'arte troupe. Dion told Spinner magazine in a 2012 interview: "It's a deeper song than people think. Those lyrics. 'Oh well, I roam from town to town - I go through life without a care - And I'm as happy as a clown - I with my two fists of iron and I'm going nowhere.' That's not just some throwaway song. There's a lot more going on then you might think. I used an image from Pagliacci. My grandfather took me to that opera as a kid and that inspired the song."
                                                      Song Covered by
Among the notable covers are:
he Beach Boys on "Beach Boys Concert" in 1964
Donna Summer in 1980 (#3 in the US, #48 in UK)
Status Quo in 184 (#7 in UK) - Album "Very Best of Status Quo"  
Eddie Rabbitt in 1988 (#1 in the Hot Country Singles Chart)
                                                                          In The Movies
"The Wanderer" featured in the films "The Wanderers" 1979 and "Behind Enemy Lines" 2001

                                                         John              Bobby          Martin