Hello: In my humble opinion The Diamonds from Toronto, Ontario, Canada were one of the best white doo-wop groups of the 1950s. The original group consisted of Dave Sumerville, lead, Ted Kowalski, tenor, Phil Levitt, baritone and Bill Reed, bass. Their first recording contract was with Coral Records in 1955. Coral released four songs, the most notable being Black Denim Trousers & Motorcycle Boots, a cover version of the original recording by The Cheers. The Diamonds version was not a big seller and got them only some local recognition.
Their first hit was a cover version of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers hit WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE. It was recorded on their new label Mercury Records and would spend 19 weeks on the Top 100 charting at #12 in 1956. Remember that in the 50s black artists were not played on white radio stations. Mercury Records, as well as other major record labels were having white artists cover the recordings of black artists, trying to expand their listening audience.
Their second hit of 1956 would again be a cover version of The Willows, THE CHURCH BELLS MAY RING, it climbed the Top 100 to #14. Their biggest hit would come in March of 1957 with LITTLE DARLIN’ (originally recorded by The Gladiolas). Little Darlin’ would spend 26 weeks in the Top 100 and chart at #2. This song is still one of the most popular oldies from the 50s. 1957 would find The Diamonds charting 5 big hits. They covered The Rays version of SILHOUETTES and put that song at #10, but their next hit would be different. THE STROLL was written by Brook Benton and was not a cover version. It was actually written for them. The Stroll had a 21 week stay on the Top 100 and charted at a high of #4.
1958 would produce 4 more Top 100 hits. They would be, HIGH SIGN at #37, KATHY-O would climb to #16 and it’s flip-side, HAPPY YEARS would chart at #73. WALKING ALONG would close 1958 for the group and become a #29 hit. The next year (1959) would see only one Diamonds hit making the Top 100 and that would be, SHE SAY (Oom Dooby Doom), reaching a high of #14.
By 1961, all the original members had left the group. One more hit was to come and in the summer of 61 they charted a spin-off of the Danleers, ONE SUMMER NIGHT which charted at #22. Altogether for Mercury Records they charted 16 songs, 3 Top 10′s and 2 gold records, Little Darlin’ and The Stroll.
The Diamonds were one of the big groups of the 50s rock era. The Diamonds received national attention once again in 2000, when the original members were invited to sing in the PBS production of Doo-Wop 51 and again in 2004 in another PBS production, Magic Moments-The Best Of ’50s Pop.
Just listen to their music today and recall all the memories of yesterday.