Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Your Own Back Yard”: 12-Step Rock

How brave of Dion (“Runaround Sue”) DiMucci to lay his life bare as he does on “Your Own Back Yard” about his own personal demons – and then issue the song as a single aimed at the radio market:

Said The Rolling Stone Record Review around the time of its release:

With anti-drug campaigns all the rage on the AM stations, it’s strange that so few have picked up on this heartfelt autobiography.  It’s hackneyed to say that Dion tells it like it is, but that’s just what he does.  No preachifying, no grass-leads-to-mainlining [baloney], just a conversational ballad about getting [messed] up on drugs and then getting straightened out.  And not only that, it’s good music, too.

Issued on Warner Brothers in 1970 both here and abroad (UK, Canada & Australia) but only in 7-inch form (#75 on the pop chart), with the title track of 1970 LP, Sit Down Old Friend, on the flip side.  Cash Box would publish a related news item – “Anti-Addiction Drive With New Dion Single” – in its June 13, 1970 edition:

NEW YORK — Dion’s new Warner Brothers single, “Your Own Back Yard,” now being rush-released, is to be the subject of a large-scale, anti-addiction public service effort, to be launched by Zach Glickman, head of New Dawn Artists Management, which handles the singer-songwriter.

The lyrics of the tune detail the feeling of a liberated addict.  Dion and Tony Fasce composed the song.

Glickman said plans are in the works to make copies of the record and lyrics available to organizations involved in the field of mental health, addiction services, and halfway houses, where ex-addicts on their way back, continue their recovery on a group therapy basis.

Dion himself will shortly leave on an extended series of dates where he will be performing this song as part of his act.  Among his upcoming engagements are appearances at the annual Alcoholics Anonymous Convention in Miami Beach over the July 4th weekend and during a Miami Beach civic affair later this month at the Miami Beach Auditorium.

According to, this song would enjoy LP release five years later – but only in the UK on the album, Born to Be With You (on the Phil Spector International label).  Forty years later (!), the song would finally be reissued in the US on compact disc thanks to the Collectables label.

Famously covered by Mott the Hoople.


Cash Box

June 27, 1970

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