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"Runaround Sue"
Runaround Sue - Dion.jpg
Single by Dion
from the album Runaround Sue
B-side"Runaway Girl"
ReleasedSeptember 1961 [1]
Studio Bell Sound (New York City)
Label Laurie
Producer(s)Gene Schwartz
Dion singles chronology
"Somebody Nobody Wants"
"Runaround Sue"
" The Wanderer"

"Runaround Sue" is a rock and roll song (in a modified doo-wop style), originally a US No. 1 Hot 100 hit (No. 4 on the Hot R&B chart) [3] for the singer Dion during 1961, after he split with the Belmonts. It was written by Dion with Ernie Maresca, and tells the story of a disloyal lover. The song ranked No. 351 on the Rolling Stone list of " The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". [4]

In 2002, Dion was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "Runaround Sue". [5] [6]

Dion version

Writing and recording

According to Dion, he started to put the song together at an informal party for a friend's birthday, where he started improvising lyrics and encouraged his friends to add doo-wop background harmonies to a clapping rhythm. He then took the idea to his friend, budding songwriter Ernie Maresca, and they developed the tune and lyrics together. Having recently split with the Belmonts, Dion then discovered another vocal group, the Del-Satins, and they rehearsed the song. The co-owner of Laurie Records (Gene Schwartz) liked the song, and it was recorded in summer 1961 at Bell Sound Studios in New York City. [7]

The lyrics are sung from the point of view of a man whose former girlfriend, named Sue, was extremely unfaithful. He warns all potential lovers to avoid her at all costs, as Sue "runs around" with every guy she meets and never settles down with any man in particular. He advises: "now people let me put you wise, Sue goes out with other guys" and suggests that potential suitors should "keep away from Runaround Sue".

Dion stated in his autobiography The Wanderer, that although his wife's name was Susan, "Runaround Sue" had nothing to do with her. Elsewhere he stated that the name Sue was of a girl he had admired from a distance, and that "her name fit the lyric line perfectly." [7] However, during a 1990 interview with his wife on The Oprah Winfrey Show, they presented the story that the song was indeed about her. [8] In the same autobiography, he stated that the inspiration for the song came from the song " Quarter to Three" by Gary U.S. Bonds, which had recently been released. [7]

The musicians included: [7]

Chart performance

Leif Garrett cover

"Runaround Sue"
Runaround Sue - Leif Garrett.jpg
Single by Leif Garrett
from the album Leif Garrett
B-side"I Wanna Share a Dream with You"
ReleasedNovember 1977
Genre Pop
Label Atlantic 3110
Producer(s) Michael Lloyd
Leif Garrett singles chronology
"Surfin' USA"
"Runaround Sue"
" Put Your Head on My Shoulder"

"Runaround Sue" was covered by then 15-year-old Leif Garrett in 1977. The song was the second of four releases from his debut album, all of which became U.S. chart hits. All four songs were covers of major hits from 1959 to 1963, including Dion's two biggest hits. Of the four, "Runaround Sue" was the most successful for Garrett. In early 1978, his version reached No. 13 on Billboard and No. 18 on Cash Box. The song also reached No. 15 in Canada. [15]

On WLS in Chicago, "Runaround Sue" reached No. 1 for one week [16] and was ranked at No. 42 for the year. [17]

Garrett was born during the chart run of Dion's original version of "Runaround Sue," in the fall of 1961. Garrett's cover of the song hit the charts the week of his 16th birthday.[ citation needed]

Chart performance

Other cover versions and samples

[31] [32] [33]


  1. ^ Strong, M. C. (1995). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. p. 220. ISBN  0-86241-385-0.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Runaround Sue - Dion | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "Dion Runaround Sue | Daily Doo Wop".
  4. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Myers, Marc (January 12, 2016). "The Story Behind 'Runaround Sue'". Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2022.{{ cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)
  7. ^ a b c d Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song. Grove Press. pp. 35–39. ISBN  978-1-61185-525-8.
  8. ^ "The Real-Life 'Runaround Sue' Who Inspired the Legendary Song". OWN. August 18, 2016. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "The CHUM Tribute Site: 1961 charts". Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  10. ^ "flavour of new zealand - Lever hit parades". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "Dion: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  12. ^ "Dion Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1961/Top 100 Songs of 1961". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  16. ^ "wls010778". Retrieved March 26, 2022.
  17. ^ WLS Musicradio 'Big 89 of 1978'.
  18. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  20. ^ " Leif Garrett – Runaround Sue" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  21. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". April 2, 1978. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  22. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN  0-89820-089-X
  23. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 94.
  24. ^ "Kent Music Report No 236 – 1 January 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1978". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 8, 2022 – via
  25. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "1978 Year End". Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  27. ^ Janjatović, Petar (2007). EX YU ROCK enciklopedija 1960–2006. Belgrade: self-released. p. 30.
  28. ^ Caramanica, Jon (March 28, 2014). "A Rapper Appropriating Dion's Cool". New York Times.
  29. ^ Stewart, Allison (February 14, 2013). "G-Eazy's musical education is an ongoing process". Chicago Tribune.
  30. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Houndmouth - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". YouTube.
  31. ^ "Runaround Sue by Dion on WhoSampled". WhoSampled.
  32. ^ "Cover versions of Runaround Sue by Dion | SecondHandSongs". SecondHandSongs.
  33. ^ "Runaround Sue - Dion | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic.

External links