"Runaround Sue" is a pop song, originally a US No. 1 hit for the singer Dion during 1961. The song ranked No. 342 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
The song was written by Ernie Maresca and Dion DiMucci. It was recorded in 1961 by Dion, backed by vocal group The Del-Satins. Released on Laurie Records, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in October of that year, and also reached number 11 in the UK charts.
It is a song about a man whose ex-girlfriend had commitment trouble and "ran around" (hence the name of the song) with other people in the city. The song caught on with millions for its catchy hook "Hey, hey, hum-ba-diddy-diddy".
In the liner notes of Dion's box set King Of The New York Streets, he writes:
- It came about by partying in a schoolyard. We were jamming, hitting tops of boxes. I gave everyone parts like the horn parts we'd hear in the Apollo Theater and it became a jam that we kept up for 45 minutes. I came up with all kinds of stuff. But when I actually wrote the song and brought it into the studio to record it, well, her name wasn't actually Sue. It was about, you know, some girl who loved to be worshipped but as soon as you want a commitment and express your love for her, she's gone. So the song was a reaction to that kind of woman.
Co-writer Ernie Maresca said:
- Everybody was singing in the neighborhood, on the street corners and in the hallways. I was in a group called The Regents at the time. They didn't have a hit yet. Everybody was coming to me for songs, which was nice, you know. ... I'd never even heard of Laurie Records until I went up there with Dion and met Gene and Bob [Schwartz] who owned the company. After they put out 'No One Knows', I would go up there with demos. I used to cut a lot of demos, you know. Then they cut an album and on it they put "Runaround Sue".
The song's melody is very similar to "Quarter to Three", a song released by Gary U.S. Bonds a few months prior to the release of "Runaround Sue."[original research?]
An answer song was "I'm No Runaround Sue" by Ginger and the Snaps.