About The Song

Background

“Runaround Sue” is a rock and roll song written by Dion DiMucci (known simply as Dion) and Ernie Greenwich. It was released in 1961 by Dion & The Belmonts, a doo-wop group formed in the Bronx, New York, in the mid-1950s. The group consisted of Dion (lead vocals), Fredrick “Curly” Gaietta (bass), Carlo Mastrangelo (tenor), and Angelo D’Apolloni (baritone).

By the time “Runaround Sue” was released, Dion & The Belmonts had already established themselves as successful doo-wop artists with hits like “I Wonder Why” (1958) and “Where Or When” (1960). However, “Runaround Sue” marked a turning point in their sound, incorporating elements of rock and roll with the doo-wop harmonies that were their signature.

Musical Style

“Runaround Sue” blends doo-wop and rock and roll seamlessly. The song opens with a doo-wop-inspired intro featuring Dion’s smooth vocals and the Belmonts’ tight harmonies. However, the energy quickly picks up with a driving drumbeat and a prominent saxophone line, introducing a rock and roll feel. The song maintains this balance throughout, with Dion’s passionate vocals alternating between doo-wop crooning and rock and roll belting, supported by the Belmonts’ rich harmonies.

The instrumentation in “Runaround Sue” is simple yet effective. The rhythm section features a steady drumbeat, a walking bass line, and occasional piano flourishes. The saxophone takes center stage in the melody, providing catchy hooks and solos. Dion’s vocals are the focal point, conveying the emotional turmoil of the lyrics.

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Lyrics

The lyrics of “Runaround Sue” tell the story of a lovesick narrator who is frustrated with his girlfriend, Sue. Sue is portrayed as fickle and indecisive, constantly leading the narrator on (“She gives me the chills, then she gives me the fever”). The narrator pleads with Sue to be more straightforward and honest about her feelings (“Just tell me what your name is, baby, ’cause I don’t even know”).

The frustration and confusion of the narrator are vividly expressed through the use of repetition (“Runaround Sue”) and vivid imagery (“Leaves me hangin’ on the telephone”). The song’s catchy chorus makes the lyrics even more memorable:

Runaround Sue, you know you got me worried Runaround Sue, you say you love me then you hurry Runaround Sue, you lead me on and then you leave me blue Come on, Sue, tell me what I gotta do

Cultural Impact

“Runaround Sue” was a massive commercial success. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and stayed there for seven weeks. It also topped the charts in the United Kingdom and Canada. The song’s success helped solidify Dion & The Belmonts’ place as one of the most popular rock and roll groups of the early 1960s.

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“Runaround Sue” had a significant cultural impact beyond the music charts. The song’s catchy title and relatable lyrics made “Runaround Sue” a popular slang term for someone who is evasive or untrustworthy. The song also helped to bridge the gap between doo-wop and rock and roll, influencing countless artists who followed.

The song’s legacy continues today. It has been covered by numerous artists, including The Who, Elvis Presley, and Ash. “Runaround Sue” is also a popular choice for jukeboxes and oldies radio stations. The song’s themes of love, heartbreak, and frustration remain relatable to audiences of all ages.

Conclusion

“Runaround Sue” is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners today. Its blend of doo-wop and rock and roll created a unique sound, while its relatable lyrics captured the universal experience of heartbreak and confusion. The song’s cultural impact is undeniable, influencing countless artists and becoming a popular part of American slang. “Runaround Sue” stands as a testament to the enduring power of great songwriting and Dion & The Belmonts’ place in rock and roll history.

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Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics!

Here’s my story, it’s sad but true
It’s about a girl that I once knew
She took my love then ran around
With every single guy in townYeah, I should have known it from the very start
This girl would leave me with a broken heart
Now listen people what I’m telling you
A-keep away from-a Runaround Sue, yeahI miss her lips and the smile on her face
The touch of her hand and this girl’s warm embrace
So if you don’t wanna cry like I do
A-keep away from-a Runaround Sue

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She likes to travel around, yeah
She’ll love you and she’ll put you down
Now people let me put you wise
Sue goes out with other guys

Here’s the moral in the story from the guy who knows
I fell in love and my love still grows
Ask any fool that she ever knew, they’ll tell ya
Keep away from-a Runaround Sue

Yeah keep away from this girl
I don’t know what she’ll do
Keep away from Sue!

She likes to travel around, yeah
She’ll love you and she’ll put you down
Now people let me put you wise
She goes out with other guys

Here’s the moral in the story from that guy who knows
I fell in love and my love still grows
Ask any fool that she ever knew, they’ll tell ya
A-keep away from-a Runaround Sue

Stay away from that girl
Don’t you know what she’ll do now
Keep away from that girl

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