Dion Week No 8: If I Should Fall Behind - Dion
It's been a long week, and we're running over. But it's been worth it. And if you think Dion left his doo-wop roots behind in the sixties, or maybe that his voice didn't hold out, think again. This is from his 1992 album "Dream on Fire".
Serendipitously I was recently re-reading New Jerseyite come New Yorker Stephen Crane's 1893 novella "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets". In it, Maggie's brother Jimmie spends most of his teen years hanging out with his friends on street corners in the Bowery, New York, watching the world go by. Sixty years later things hadn't changed much. Dion and his buddies were camped on the same street corners singing doo-wop. Dion recalls that when it was raining or snowing they would take shelter in the nearest doorways and carry on with their music until irate residents yelled at them to stop the racket and clear off. He said that the resonance echoing from the porticos enhanced their harmonies and helped them develop their singing style.
"If I Should Fall Behind" was originally written and performed by another New Jerseyite New Yorker, Bruce Springsteen, but Dion makes this love song his own in his pitch perfect doo-wop version, his pure vocal infusing it with an almost religious intensity.
Turn the lights down low, or even better, off; turn the volume up high. Imagine it's cold and snowing outside and, out of a dark night, you hear four guys singing in your front doorway. You are about to move them on, but you pause and listen. And then the magic takes you: you can't stop listening. And for a moment you find yourself "just a little south of heaven".
Doo-wop at its best. It's moving and it's finger-clicking good.