“You Belong to Me” had already been a hit, for both Jo Stafford and Patti Page, when the Jersey City doo-wop group, The Duprees, recorded it in 1962. But The Duprees made it sound bigger and more dramatic than ever before— it took on a quality that seemed somewhat cinematic — with an orchestral arrangement and lead singer Joey Canzano’srich, almost Roy Orbison-like vocals. And it became their breakthrough song, a Top 10 hit.
The group had other hits, too, including“Have You Heard” and “Why Don’t You Believe Me,” but the original lineupdidn’t stay together long, and there have been many, many membershipchanges in the 52 years since “You Belong to Me.” Canzano, who was also sometimes known as Joey Vann, left the group in 1964, and died in1984, at the age of 40.
There is still a group called The Duprees today, but it does not include any original members. And artists ranging from Michael Bublé to Bob Dylan have recorded “You Belong to Me.” But The Duprees’ version remains definitive.
New Jersey celebratedits 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. Andin the 350 Jersey Songs series, we markedthe occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.