Passings: Carlo Mastrangelo of the Belmonts (1937 - 2016)

Carlo Mastrangelo, an original member of the Belmonts, died on Monday, April 4 in Boynton Beach, FL after suffering from cancer. He was 78.

Mastrangelo grew up in the Bronx, playing drums and singing on street corners and in subways with his classmates from Roosevelt High School Angelo D'Aleo and Fred Milano. They eventually named themselves The Belmonts and recorded their first single in 1957, Teenage Clementine / Santa Margherita for the local Mohawk Records.

Another Mohawk Records artist, Dion DiMucci, had also released a single with the group The Timberlines; however, he never met his backing group, just adding vocals to the tracks The Chosen Few and Out in Colorado.

For their next recording, Dion joined the Belmonts and released one further single on Mohawk (We Went Away / Tag Along) before moving to Laurie Records where their first release, I Wonder Why, went to number 22 on the Hot 100 in mid-1958. They had two more minor hits, No One Know (1958 / #19) and Don't Pity Me (1958 / #40) before finally breaking out nationally with A Teenager in Love. Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Schuman, the record went to number 5 on the Hot 100 and 28 in the U.K.

Dion and the Belmonts, with Mastrangelo singing bass, made numerous appearances on American Bandstand and Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beachnut Show throughout this time and were part of the Winter Dance Party tour that also included the late Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. Holly actually played drums for the Belmont's set during the show the night before he died.

Dion and the Belmonts released four more singles on Laurie, all of which made the top 50, including their highest charting single Where or When (1959 / #3) but Dion was interested in moving to a more rock sound while the rest of the group wanted to remain with group harmony, so they parted ways in early 1960.

Mastrangelo moved to the lead spot as the Belmonts continued as a trio. Over the next three years, they scored six Hot 100 songs, all on their own Sabina label, including Tell Me Why (1961 / #18) and Come On Little Angel (1962 / #28) but, disagreements over the finances of their level led to a split with Mastrangelo going solo.

Recording under the name Carlo with Laurie Records, none of his four singles charted although they did get regional airplay. After little success, he joined back up with Dion as songwriting partner, backup vocalist and drummer for Dion and the Wanderers.

In late-1966, Dion and the three original Belmonts reunited for the album Dion & the Belmonts Together Again. While they had no hits in the U.S., two of the singles, My Girl The Month of May and Movin' Man, made it to the British top twenty. Dion and Mastrangelo left after the reunion with Carlo joining the group The Endless Pulse, releasing music once again on Laurie Records.

Mastrangelo, Dion and the Belmonts reunited again in 1972 for one of Richard Nader's shows which resulted in a live album, and again the next year at the Nassau Coliseum but Carlo remained involved with the group now named Pulse performing jazz-rock music. He later formed and sang for the group The Midnite Sun.

Mastrangelo is survived by his wife, Lucille, a daughter, two grandchildren and on great-grandchild.

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