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Biography

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Mini Bio (1)

The Diamonds, four gentlemen from Toronto, Canada, were one of the most popular singing groups of the 1950s. This versatile group was signed to Mercury Records and was designated to cover the recordings of black artists, as was often the practice in those days because many radio stations wouldn't play "black" songs. Proving they were up to the task, they put 16 hits on the charts of Billboard, three going gold: "Little Darlin", "Silhouettes" and "The Stroll". They even showed up on the R&B charts. Group members were David Somerville, lead; Ted Kowalski, tenor; Phil Levitt; baritone; and Bill Reed, bass. Kowalski and Levitt were students at the University of Toronto, Somerville was a radio engineer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) and Reed was employed by the telephone company.

In the fall of 1953 Somerville met this unnamed group in the hall of the CBC. The group was in its original form, with Stan Fisher as lead singer, and they were going to audition for a CBC show called "Pick the Stars". Being a trained singer, Somerville thought they weren't ready for the show and offered to tutor the guys and help them along. He got them practice time in "unoccupied" studios and also had connections for professional arrangements. Thing were moving along until the group was scheduled to sing at a Christmas party at a local church. As it turned out, lead singer Fisher opted out to study for an exam the next day. Since Somerville knew all the songs, he took the lead--literally--and the group was an overwhelming success. The decision to go professional came quickly. Fisher decided not to continue with the group. With their new lead Somerville, The Diamonds were about to hit the scene.

They, like most artists of that day, were not an overnight success. They worked hard, developing their craft, learning "barbershop quartet" singing from Bill's dad, also a bass singer. Whenever possible they would get together with a black gospel group called The Revelaires, from Detroit. As The Diamonds have said, "This was the group that had the most effect on our singing; they taught us not to be so square".

After school in the spring of 1954 Ted and Phil decided not to go back in the fall. The guys wanted to get serious about their singing, and this gave them more time to practice. Dave's connections introduced them to Nat Goodman, a professional classical musician who took the group under his management. It was at this point that Dave and Bill quit their jobs and the group began to polish its repertoire. With a performance and a win on the Arthur Godfrey show Talent Scouts (1948), and a week guest-starring on Godfrey's radio show, they soon were signed to a four-song contract with Coral Records. A later introduction to Cleveland disc jockey 'Bill Randle', who got them a long-term contact with Mercury Records. In 1956 they had four charted hits before their 1957 hit, "Little Darlin'". This was the song that made them a household name. It also landed them in the teen musical The Big Beat (1958), and they also sang the theme song for the films Kathy O' (1958) and The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962). Their contract with Mercury produced over 60 singles, two original albums and several compilation albums. Even today they still pop up on a soundtrack from a movie.

By 1961 all the original members had left the group, but The Diamonds still continued. Ted and Phil went back to school at the University of Toronto and Bill got on the other side of the record business. Only Dave continued his singing, adapting to the ever-changing music scene. The original members would get together for an occasional oldies reunion, but it wasn't until an appearance in the PBS special Doo Wop 51 (2001) did they once again gain national attention. That was followed with an appearance in another PBS special, Magic Moments: The Best of 50's Pop (2004). Fortunately these two programs are available on video and DVD, since there isn't much footage of this fun, energetic group available prior to those two shows.

"Little Darlin', Little Darlin', Oh Where Are You?"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Barry Worrell (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Trivia (12)

Members have included David Somerville (d. 2015), Ted Kowalski (d. 2010), Phil Levitt, Bill Reed (d. 2004), Bill New, Bob Duncan, Gary Owens, Sean Sooter, Jerry Siggins, Jeff Dolan, Mike Douglas, Evan Fisher, John Felten, Glen Stetson, Steve Smith, Gary Cech, Joe Denis, Jerry Honeycutt, Jim Malone.
Sang the title songs for two films, Kathy O' (1958) and The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962).
Performed "Little Darlin'" and "Where Mary Go" in The Big Beat (1958).
Lead David Somerville sang the bass part on "Little Darlin'" during Bill Reed's recitation.
They credited a black gospel group, The Revelaires, out of Detroit, as the major influence on their singing.
They thought the song "Faithful & True", the flip side of "Little Darlin'", would be the hit.
Bass Bill Reed may have been the earliest verified performer of the "air guitar". This was in 1957 and was recorded from a live TV show and can be viewed on YouTube.
Bass Bill Reed was chased by a bear on The Paul Winchell Show (1950).
Baritone Phil Levitt's last name is commonly misspelled as "Leavitt".
One of their biggest hits, "The Stroll", was written by R&B singer Brook Benton.
Member Ted Kowalski died of heart disease on August 8, 2010, at age 79. Bill Reed died on Oct. 26, 2004, at age 68.
There's a rumor that the father of actor Tom Hanks was a member of this group, but that's not true.

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