Dion DiMucci. The Wanderer. King Of The New York Streets. Member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For over 40 years, he's been a major recording artist and rock n' roll pioneer and a major inspiration for scores of singers, songwriters and guitarists. Just ask them:
Bruce Springsteen: "I've been lucky enough to have Dion cut a few of my songs. I'm gonna ask him to cut a few more just so I can learn how to sing 'em."
Bob Dylan: "If you want to hear a great singer, listen to Dion. His voice takes its color from all palettes -- he's never lost it -- his genius has never deserted him."
Paul Simon: "I have been a fan of Dion since I was a teenager. He is one of the great voices of New York rock n' roll."
Waylon Jennings: "The pop and rock music of the day owes a lot to Dion. About every other record you hear on the radio today, you can hear his influence."
Indeed, Dion has moved easily -- and very successfully -- through a variety of musical styles: doo wop, pop, rock, folk, blues and gospel. The Bronx-born singer/songwriter/ guitarist began his career in 1958 as lead singer of Dion and The Belmonts, recording such classics as "I Wonder Why," "A Teenager In Love," and "Where Or When." Going solo in 1960, Dion again launched a long run of top ten hits including "Lonely Teenager," "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer," "Little Star," "Ruby Baby," "Donna, The Prima Donna" and others. Shifting from pop to acoustic blues and folk in the mid-'60s, Dion once more scored a major hit with the release of "Abraham, Martin and John" in 1968.
Throughout the '70s and '80s, Dion continued to tour and record, releasing critically acclaimed albums for Warner Brothers, Arista, Laurie, Capitol, Columbia and Lifesong. For several years he focused entirely on contemporary gospel, recording four albums for DaySpring, culminating in a 1983 Grammy nomination for I Put Away My Idols. Recently Columbia and Capitol Records have released definitive Dion retrospectives, "The Road I'm On" and "King Of The New York Streets," celebrating 40 years of Dion's music and stature as a major American artist. Today he still records, still tours and still influences.
While Dion is perhaps best known as a singer and songwriter, he is an equally gifted guitarist, playing acoustic and/or electric on virtually all of his recordings. He is an especially skilled steel-string blues player (his Columbia retrospective "The Road I'm On" documents Dion's terrific blues guitar work). On his Laurie and Warner Brothers acoustic/folk albums, he played both gut and steel string acoustics.
Throughout all of Dion's recorded work, Martin guitars have been an important mainstay. These include a D-18 (check out the opening acoustic riff on "Ruby Baby"), several D-28s and a D-35S. Dion currently plays an SP-000C-16E. "As a kid, I only had two goals in life -- to date Marilyn Monroe and to own a Martin guitar"- says Dion. We know that at least one of those dreams was realized.
In honoring Dion and his music, Martin is proud to present "The Wanderer" Dion Signature Edition Model. Designed in close collaboration with Dion, the 000CBD guitar features a 14-fret, 000 body, long scale, with a rounded Venetian cutaway for easy access to the upper frets. "I wanted a guitar that would work well on stage and in the studio," says Dion. "I think the mid-size 000 offers the best of both -- it's got that great Martin acoustic sound for live dates and it's very balanced for recording." Dion also specified the Martin GoldPlus Natural II active transducer system, which makes this model instantly adaptable for stage and studio use.
The instrument is crafted of premium, solid tonewoods -- mahogany back and sides, Sitka spruce top with scalloped "hybrid" bracing, and a genuine mahogany low profile neck. Body and neck are finished in black polished lacquer. "I think black is definitely a very cool color for a rock n' roll guitar," Dion adds.
To contrast the black top, the soundhole is surrounded with a single ring of blue paua shell. Black Boltaron binding, with contrasting heavy white/black Style 21 top inlay, is used to outline and protect the top and back edges; the side inlay consists of thin black-white-black lines. A colorful Style 45 mosaic backstrip joins the two-piece back.
A ramped belly bridge of black African ebony is inlaid with two small abalone doves on each bridge wing to symbolize Dion's deep religious faith. Other black appointments include black bridge pins (and endpin) with abalone pearl dots, black Micarta saddle and nut, ebony heelcap, black Boltaron end piece with thin white inlay, and large ebony buttons on Schaller M-6 chrome tuning machines.
One of the most stunning features of "The Wanderer" guitar is the headplate. Crafted of prized African ebony, it is carefully inlaid with the New York City skyline and Dion's signature, both in pearl. The skyline symbolizes Dion's pioneer stature in New York's rock n' roll music history. A raised silver foil C. F. Martin scroll logo and clear polished finish complement the inlays.
A poignant sidenote: The skyline headplate inlay had been designed long before the tragic events of September 11, and had originally included "The Wanderer" rather than Dion's signature. After the tragedy, Dion asked that "The Wanderer" inscription be replaced with his signature to signify his support and love of New York City, his hometown.) A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Dion Signature Edition guitar will be donated in support of The S.O.S. Children's Village in Coconut Creek, Florida, a children's charity that provides homes, parents, families and support services for children in foster care.
African ebony is also utilized for the fingerboard which is inlaid with long-pattern abalone "diamond & squares" position markers. "The Wanderer," the title of one of Dion's best known hits, is inlaid in mother-of-pearl between the 18th and 19th frets. Each guitar will be numbered in sequence with the edition total and personally signed by Dion DiMucci and C. F. Martin IV, and is delivered in a deluxe Geib style vintage hardshell case. Orders for the 000CBD Dion Signature Edition will be accepted by Martin until March 18, 2002. The edition will begin to appear in stores in the summer of 2002. After the order period closes, the size of the edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website.
As Lou Reed put it in his speech inducting Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "After all, who could be hipper than Dion."
And what could be hipper yet than a Dion Signature Edition Guitar.