diamond dave
dave somerville
Dave Somerville (1933-2015)

     David-Troy Somerville (a.k.a. “Diamond Dave”), was one of the most gifted Pop vocalists and musical treasures of all time. He capitalized on his distinctive baritone voice, four octave vocal range, leading man good looks and a vibrant personality to create a career spanning over six decades as a singer, songwriter, actor and voice over artist. Les Paul was right when he said, “Dave has a unique God-given voice … a distillation of Elvis and Bing.”
     Born on October 2, 1933 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, David grew up in the small nearby farming village of Rockwood. At age 12 his family moved to Toronto. After Central Technical High School, he went to work as a radio operator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There in November 1953 he met a vocal group waiting to audition for an amateur talent show, engaged them in conversation and quickly became their coach and ultimately Lead Singer. They called themselves The Diamonds.
     They were “discovered” by legendary Cleveland D.J., Dr. Bill Randle, who led them to a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1956. Propelled by Dave’s voice, The Diamonds became the most prominent white male vocal group of the mid-to-late 1950s, one of the biggest recording act of all music genres during that era, the first vocal group to have a rock ‘n’ roll hit, and the first white vocal group of early rock ‘n’ roll to have hits on R&B charts. The Diamonds became widely regarded as one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll known for their sparkling vocal harmony sound that was so vital in rock’s early days.
     The Diamonds charted with 16 Billboard hits between 1956 and 1961, 15 of which were Top 40 and 3 were Top 10 on Pop Charts (4 Top 10 on R&B Charts) and 3 Gold Records (“Little Darlin’,” “The Stroll” and “Silhouettes”).
     “Little Darlin’” featuring David’s distinctive falsetto artistry became the 3rd biggest selling record of 1957, the first rock ‘n’ roll hit with a Latin beat, their first million-seller and the first the song that made The Diamonds a household name and put them in the history books. The Diamonds’ “Little Darlin’” has become a seminal song of the era and an enduring anthem of the rock and roll generation.
     In the fall of ’57 topping the charts with 8 hits, The Diamonds joined a now legendary rock ‘n’ roll bus tour with other rising stars – Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, LaVerne Baker, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and others. For two months of one-nighters, these pioneer jukebox giants barnstormed North America making musical history. and sowing the seeds of rock ‘n’ roll.
     The Diamonds’ music influenced many artists through the years including Elvis, Bob Dylan, Jan & Dean, David Bowie and Carole King to name a few.
     David left the Diamonds to pursue a single act as a Folk artist under the name David Troy from 1961 to 1966 appearing in celebrated folk venues around the country and throughout Asia. In 1966, David became a member of The Four Preps with whom he performed for the next few years. In 1968 he left the group along with the co-founder and Lead Singer, Bruce Belland, and together formed a music and comedy duo called Belland and Somerville that would, for the next five years, become the opening act for such performers as Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Glen Campbell and Brazil ’66. They appeared on numerous television shows and as regulars on The Tim Conway Show.
     Over the years David kept a busy schedule entertaining at concerts, recording soundtracks, acting in television shows and stage productions, performing voice-overs, or writing one of several hundred songs in his catalog. He and Belland went on to collaborate on many songs including “Troublemaker” that became a platinum recording and title song for Willie Nelson’s No. 1 Country Album in 1976. David also co-wrote the theme song that inspired the ABC hit television show “The Fall Guy” starring Lee Majors and created by Glen Larson.
     In 1988 he rejoined The Four Preps for another eighteen years. Most recently he performed a single act as “Dave Somerville, Original Lead Singer of The Diamonds,” recreating those early days of rock ‘n’ roll on that Greyhound bus by singing the hit songs of those artists on that tour and telling road stories.
     It was The Diamonds’ contribution to international popular music and the power of David’s voice that earned them induction into five music halls of fame. He also appeared in 2 PBS specials – “Doo Wop ‘51” and “Magic Moments – The Best of Fifties Pop.”

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