1950s Doo-Wop Group Combines Classic Rock 'n' Roll with Today's Attitude
When you think of '50s music and that era's chart-topping doo-wop groups, The Diamonds immediately come to mind, with such unforgettable hits as "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?", "Little Darlin'" and "The Stroll." Now, over 55 years since the first of their 16 Billboard hits, this Hall of Fame vocal group makes its Follies debut.
It all began in 1953 when a sound engineer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation met three talented, young Toronto men who liked to sing as much as he did, so they formed a stand-up quartet. Their first performance was in a church basement singing in a Christmas show. The audience's reaction to the clean-cut group was so tremendous that The Diamonds decided they would turn professional that very night.
After 18 months of rehearsing and performing wherever they could, the quartet competed on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts television show and tied for first place. Their prize was appearing as guest artist for a week on the show. A Mercury Records contract soon followed.
The Diamonds' first recording for Mercury was "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", which reached #12. Their follow-up hit single, "The Church Bells May Ring", reached #14.
Their biggest hits were 1957's "Little Darlin'", the first of their three Gold Records, and 1958's "The Stroll", an original song written for the group by Clyde Otis. Based on an idea of Dick Clark's, "The Stroll" became a huge dance craze, directly due to The Diamonds' many appearances on American Bandstand.
Other television appearances included the shows of Steve Allen, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Tony Bennett and Eddy Arnold. Their music has also been featured in soundtracks, including the motion picture American Graffiti and television's Happy Days.
During the 1960s and '70s The Diamonds continued to tour the country, playing the dinner club circuit in Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. An appearance in a 1973 television special saluting the pioneers of rock and roll led to nightclub and casino bookings. In 1987, they released the album Diamonds Are Forever, which contained "Just a Little Bit" and "Two Kinds Of Women", two recordings that made the country charts.
The Diamonds received national attention once again in 2000, when they were invited to sing in two PBS productions, Doo-Wop 51 in 2000, and 2004's Magic Moments: The Best Of '50s Pop.
Today, the quartette is comprised of Gary Owens, 60; Jerry Siggins, 64; Jeff Dolan, 53; and Shawn Stevens, 53, who continue proving the durability of their distinctive brand of classic rock-and-roll, which Plaza Theatre audiences can now experience for themselves.
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