Friday, January 8, 2010

The Diamonds

The Diamonds were a Canadian quartet of the 1950s and early 1960s who rose to fame performing mostly cover versions of songs by black musicians. The original members were: Dave Somerville - Lead, Ted Kowalski - Tenor, Phil Levitt - Baritone, and Bill Reed - Bass. In 1953, Dave Somerville was working as a sound engineer at CBC studios in Toronto. One of the shows he produced was called "Pick the Stars" which was a local talent show. He noticed four men rehearsing for the show in the hallway, and being impressed with them, offered to be their manger. Their big break came with an audition in Cleveland, Ohio. The Diamonds were signed to a recording contract with Mercury Records, who at that time, along with other record companies, were signing white artists to cover recordings of black artists for the purpose of expanding their listening audience. At this time, black artists were not played on white radio stations. The Diamonds’ first recording for Mercury was "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," a cover of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers’s version, which reached #12 in the U.S.
The Diamonds' biggest hits were 1957's "Little Darlin'" and 1958's "The Stroll" which was written for them following an idea by Dick Clark to create a new dance. The group disbanded in 1961, and then reunited in various forms over the years with different members and lead singers. The original members reunited in 2000 for a PBS television special, and original member Bill Reed died in 2004.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know these guys were Canadian (or white!)