The Diamonds (2) (Toronto, Canada)
Dave Somerville (Lead) (replaced by Jim Malone 1961)
Ted Kowalski (Tenor) (replaced by Evan Fisher 1958)
Phil Levitt (Baritone) (replaced by Mike Douglas 1957)
Bill Reed (Bass) (replaced by John Felten 1958)
1955 - Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots / Nip Sip (Coral 61502)
1955 - Be My Lovin' Baby / Smooch Me (Coral 61577)
1956 - Why Do Fools Fall In Love / You Baby You (Mercury 70790)
1956 - Church Bells May Ring / Little Girl Of Mine (Mercury 70835)
1956 - Love, Love, Love / Ev'ry Night About This Time (Mercury 70889)
1956 - Ka-Ding-Dong / Soft Summer Breeze (Mercury 70934)
1956 - My Judge And Jury / Put Your House In Order (Mercury 70983)
1956 - A Thousand Miles Away / Ev'ry Minute Of The Day (Mercury 71021)
1957 - Little Darlin' / Faithful And True (Mercury 71060)
1957 - Words Of Love / Don't Say Goodbye (Mercury 71128)
1957 - Zip Zip / Oh, How I Wish (Mercury 71165)
1957 - Silhouettes / Daddy Cool Mercury 71197)
1957 - The Stroll / Land Of Beauty (Mercury 71242)
1957 - Straight Skirts / Patsy (Mercury 45223) (Canada)
1958 - High Sign / Chick-Lets (Don't Let Me Down) (Mercury 71291)
1958 - Kathy-O / Happy Years (Mercury 71330)
1958 - Kathy-O / Where Merry Go (n/a)
1958 - Happy Years / Honey (Mercury 71782)
1958 - Walking Along / Eternal Lovers (Mercury 71366)
1959 - She Say (Oom Dooby Doom) / From The Bottom Of My Heart (Mercury 71404)
1959 - Mothers Love / Gretchen (Mercury 71449)
1959 - Holding Your Hand / Sneacky Alligator (Mercury 71468)
1959 - Young In Years / Twenty Second Day (Mercury 71505)
1959 - Oh Carol / Believe Me (Mercury 45325) (Canada)
1959 - Walkin' The Stroll / Batman, Wolfman, Frankenstein Or Dracula (Mercury 71534)
1960 - Tell The Truth / Real True Love (Mercury 71586)
1960 - Passion Flower / San Antonio Rose (Mercury 45349) (Canada)
1960 - Slave Girl / Pencil Song (Mercury 71633)
1960 - You'd Be Mine / The Crumble (Mercury 71734)
1961 - I Sho Lawd Will / You Short Changed Me (Mercury 71782)
1961 - Munch / Woomai (Mercury 71818)
1961 - One Summer Night / It's A Doggone Shame (Mercury 71831)
1962 - The Horizental Lieutenant / Vanishing American (Mercury 71956)
1963 - Melody Of Love / The Slide (Nathaniel)
1957 - 'Til My Baby Comes Home / Shoo Ya Blues / Oh, How I Wish / One And Only / Honey / Girl Of Mine / /Honey Bird / For You Alone / My Dog Likes Your Dog / Zip Zip / Cool, Cool Baby / You Are The Limit (Mercury LP 20309)
1958 - Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away ) / Baby Won't You Please Come Home / The Best Things In Life Are Free / Ain't Misbehavin' (I'm Savin' My Love For You) / Until The Real Things Comes Along / I'll Always Be In Love With You / Will You Still Be Mine / Tenderly / For All We Know / One For My Baby (And One More For The Raod) / Lulu's Back In Town / You'll Never Walk Alone (Mercury LP 20368)
1958 - The Stroll / You Baby You / Ev’ry Night About This Time / Ka-Ding-Dong / A Thosand Miles Away / Ev’ry Minute Of The Day / Little Darlin’ / Faithful And True / Straight Skirts / Silhouettes / Passion Flower / Daddy Cool (Mercury-Wing LP 12114)
1959 - Cool Water / San Antonio Rose / Beautiful Brown Eyes / High Noon / Wagon Wheel / Gold Mine In The Sky / My Little Buckaroo / Cattle Call / Empty Saddles / Streets Of Laredo / Train Of The Lonesome Pine / Home On The Range (Mercury LP 20480)
The Diamonds were a clean-cut white vocal group that had sixteen hits between 1956 and 1961, ten which were covers of songs sung by black R&B artists. The original group, formed in 1953, consisted of Dave Somerville, Phil Levitt, Ted Kowalski, and Bill Reed. In the beginning the group practiced several types of vocal styles, including four part "barber style" harmony. The Diamonds began their singing in local clubs, school functions, church socials, and anywhere they could find an audience.
They came to the attention of Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca Records, where they covered two records, Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots (a hit for the Cheers) b/w "Nip Sip" (a Clovers song) during the summer of 1955. Neither sold well enough to convince Coral to retain them. However, Bill Randle, an influential Cleveland deejay, liked them enough to mention their name to an executive at Mercury Records. The Diamonds signed with one of the labels that developed the market for "covers."
The Diamonds decision to cover rhythm and blues artist was the result of economic reality: cover records sold very well in markets where the original versions wouldn't be acceptable. Among their hits in 1956 were "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," "Church Bells May Ring," "Love, Love, Love" and "Ka-King-Dong," originally recorded by The Teenagers, The Willows, The Clovers, and The G-Clefs, respectively.
Their biggest hit was a cover of The Gladiola's "Little Darlin'." The Gladiolas version came out in the first week in February, 1957. In less then two weeks the Diamonds version was out. Legend has it that prior to the recording session the group rehearsed the song all night in their hotel room, becoming so fed up that they exaggerated the bass and falsetto parts in an attempt to turn the song into a satire of itself. This is only partly true. Maurice Williams, The Gladiola's lead singer, invented all the vocal trills and hiccups. However, the spoken bridge was not performed by The Gladiolas.
The Diamonds continued covering other artists and their version of "Words of Love" brought the song's writer Buddy Holly his first significant royalties. By late 1957, the music industry began to accept as true that what had been known by teenagers for two years: original rock and roll couldn't be copied just by anyone. Rock and Roll was a form of expression that relied as much on delivery as on lyrics and musical notation. Rock and Roll singers learned this lesson for themselves as they many switched from small companies to major labels. Often their first session's attempted to record their earlier hits by copying the original style.
Seeing the future The Diamonds sought an original song to record. In the late spring of 1957, Chuck Willis' "C.C. Ryder" became the first of a string of rhythm and blues songs based on a dance named the Stroll. Clyde Otis, a songwriter who had with Nancy Lee written a song based on the new dance, approached the Diamonds. "The Stroll" became a huge hit partly as a result as a result of repeated airings on American Bandstand. "The Stroll" was perfect for television because it was exuberant and photogenic.
The groups popularity waned after "The Stroll." By 1959, after "She Say (Oom Dooby Doom), the group's popularity was over as they no longer appealed to the teenagers. During the next two years the Diamonds became a popular attraction on the dinner club circuit in Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago. They had a minor hit in 1961 with a version of the Danleers 1958 hit, "One Summer Night." Soon thereafter, the group disbanded.
The Diamonds became inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.
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