Tag: Diamonds

Thursday 11/26/2020 11:15am ET: Feature LP: Elton John – Diamonds (2017)

Diamonds is the ultimate greatest hits album by British singer-songwriter Elton John spanning his biggest hits from 1970 to 2016. The album was released on November 10, 2017. It was released in a single disc version, a 2-CD version, a 3-CD deluxe box set and a 2-LP vinyl version.

It is the first Elton John career-spanning compilation released since Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits in 2007. It was released to commemorate the 50 years of John’s work with lyricist Bernie Taupin, since 1967. Although their collaboration began in 1967, the oldest hit in the album is “Your Song”, from the 1970 album Elton John. The limited edition 3-CD box set version of Diamonds includes a 72-page hardback book with annotations for the stories behind each track and a set of five postcards of illustrations of Elton John by contemporary artist Richard Kilroy.

In January 2019, the British Phonographic Industry certified Diamonds Platinum for sales of 300,000 units. In the United States the Recording Industry Association of America certified Diamonds Gold for sales of 500,000 units.

Disc one

1. “Your Song” 1970 4:03
2. “Tiny Dancer” 1971 6:16
3. “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” 1972 4:42
4. “Honky Cat” 5:13
5. “Crocodile Rock” 1973 3:55
6. “Daniel” 3:54
7. “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” 1973 4:54
8. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” 3:14
9. “Candle in the Wind” 3:50
10. “Bennie and the Jets” 5:23
11. “The Bitch Is Back” 1974 3:45
12. “Philadelphia Freedom” 1975 5:20
13. “Island Girl” 1975 3:43
14. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” 6:45
15. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (duet with Kiki Dee)” 1976 4:35
16. “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” 3:52
17. “Little Jeannie”  4:49

Disc two

1. “Song for Guy” 1978 6:34
2. “Blue Eyes” 1982 3:28
3. “I’m Still Standing” 1983 3:04
4. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” 4:43
5. “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” 1984 4:48
6. “Nikita” 1985 5:44
7. “I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That” 1988 4:34
8. “Sacrifice” 1989 5:05
9. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (duet with George Michael)” 1993 5:48
10. “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” 1997 4:00
11. “I Want Love” 2001 4:37
12. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” 1994 4:01
13. “Are You Ready for Love” 1979 3:32
14. “Electricity” 2005 3:32
15. “Home Again” 2013 5:02
16. “Looking Up” 2016 4:06
17. “Circle of Life” 4:53

Disc three

1. “Skyline Pigeon” (Piano Version) 1973 3:54
2. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” 1974 6:16
3. “Pinball Wizard” 1975 5:14
4. “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” 1979 4:04
5. “Part-Time Love” 1978 3:13
6. “Victim of Love” 1979 3:22
7. “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” 1982 5:10
8. “Kiss the Bride” 1983 4:23
9. “That’s What Friends Are For 1985 4:15
10. “The One” 1992 5:53
11. “True Love (duet with Kiki Dee)” 1993 3:35
12. “Believe” 1995 4:47
13. “Live Like Horses (duet with Luciano Pavarotti)” 1997 5:07
14. “Written in the Stars (duet with LeAnn Rimes)” 1999 4:17
15. “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore” 2001 4:39
16. “Good Morning to the Night (with Pnau)” 2012 3:24
17. “Step Into Christmas” 1973 4:29

Thursday 10/1/2020 2pm ET: Feature Artist – The Diamonds

The Diamonds are a Canadian vocal quartet that rose to prominence in the 1950s and early 1960s with 16 Billboard hit records. The original members were Dave Somerville (lead), Ted Kowalski (tenor), Phil Levitt (baritone), and Bill Reed (bass). They were most noted for interpreting and introducing rhythm and blues vocal group music to the wider pop music audience. Contrary to a popular myth, the father of Tom Hanks was never a member of the group.

In 1953, Dave Somerville, while working as a sound engineer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, met three other young singers. They decided to form a stand-up quartet called The Diamonds. The group’s first performance was in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Toronto singing in a Christmas minstrel show. The audience’s reaction to the Somerville-led group was so positive that they decided that night they would turn professional.

After 18 months of rehearsal, they drove to New York and tied for 1st Place on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The prize of being guest artist for a week on Godfrey’s show led to a recording contract with Coral Records. Professional musician Nat Goodman became their manager. Coral released four songs, the most notable being “Black Denim Trousers & Motorcycle Boots”, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

The next big step was an audition with Cleveland, Ohio, radio disc jockey, Bill Randle, who had aided in the success of some popular groups, such as The Crew-Cuts. Randle was impressed with The Diamonds and introduced them to a producer at Mercury Records who signed the group to a recording contract.

The Diamonds’ first recording for Mercury was “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (originated by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers), which reached #12 in the U.S. as their first hit, and their follow-up hit single, “The Church Bells May Ring” (originally by The Willows), reached #14 in the U.S.

The Diamonds’ biggest hits were 1957’s “Little Darlin'” (originally recorded by The Gladiolas, written by Maurice Williams) and “The Stroll” (1957), an original song written for the group by Clyde Otis, from an idea by Dick Clark.

Although they were signed to do rock and roll, Mercury also paired them with jazz composer and arranger Pete Rugolo, in one of his Meet series recordings. The album, entitled The Diamonds Meet Pete Rugolo, allowed them to return to their roots and do some established standards.

The group sang “Little Darlin'” and “Where Mary Go” in the film The Big Beat. They sang the theme song to the 1958 film, Kathy O’.

Their television appearances included the TV shows of Steve Allen, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Tony Bennett, Eddy Arnold, and Paul Winchell. They also appeared on American Bandstand.

In the late 1950s, Reed, Kowalski and Levitt left the group and were replaced by Mike Douglas, John Felten, and Evan Fisher.

Dave Somerville (d. 2015)

Dave Somerville – Lead (died 2015) / Replaced by Jim Malone 1961
Ted Kowalski – Tenor (died 2010) / Replaced by Evan Fisher 1958
Phil Levitt – Baritone / Replaced by Mike Douglas 1957
Bill Reed – Bass (died 2004) / Replaced by John Felten 1958 (died 1982) / Replaced by Gary Cech until 1992 (voluntarily left the group).