Dave Somerville

Dave Somerville

Dave Somerville, a.k.a. “Diamond” Dave Somerville (born October 2, 1933), in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Best known as co-founder and original lead singer of The Diamonds, one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1950s.

Biography

Dave Somerville grew up in a musical family in the farming village of Rockwood, Ontario, 50 miles west of Toronto. At age 14, he moved to Toronto with his parents and brother, Marc, where he entered Central Tech to study architecture and building construction. He soon realized that would not be his career. After high school, he studied radio and secured a position in the engineering department as a radio operator at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Concurrently, he studied voice with Dr. Ernesto Vinci at the University of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

During the fall of 1953 in the hallway of the C.B.C., Somerville met by chance an unnamed quartet (Stan Fisher, Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt and Bill Reed), and in a very brief moment of time became their manager and tutor. Later that year (when Fisher opted for college) Dave became the group’s lead singer. That quartet became The Diamonds. On August 1, 1955, the group tied for first place on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in NYC. In February of 1956, with the recommendation of Cleveland’s genius DJ Dr. Bill Randle, they signed a long-term contract with Mercury Records.

Somerville performed 8 years with The Diamonds and had great success singing lead on all 16 of their Billboard hits, peaking with the song, “Little Darlin'” that for 8 weeks, remained at number 2 on the charts becoming the 3rd best selling single record of 1957. With multiple appearances on American Bandstand, The Perry Como and Steve Allen Shows and more, all combined to increase his visibllity.

In August 1961, Somerville exited The Diamonds, married Judy Corns of Evansville, IN and began a 6-year career as a folk “single” under the name David Troy. In 1967 his only son, David Orlando “Landa” Somerville (now also a singer/songwriter) was born. That same year Dave joined The Four Preps singing the bass part as the first replacement member for that group. In 1969 he concentrated on a folk/comedy act with a former member of The Four Preps, Bruce Belland. The duo, Belland & Somerville, appeared in concerts with Henry Mancini and Johnny Mathis and was a regular act on the CBS primetime TV comedy series “The Tim Conway Show”. From 1972-74 Somerville founded and performed with Keith Barbour and Gail Jensen in the group called WW Fancy. In the late 80s he again sang with original members of The Diamonds. He also returned to The Four Preps along with Bruce Belland and Ed Cobb of the original Four Preps and Jim Pike of The Lettermen, and organized another group called Somerville’s Diamonds. He studied acting with Leonard “Mr. SpockNimoy and has guest starred in many TV shows, including Star Trek: The Original Series. His song, “The Ballad of the Unknown Stuntman”, inspired the creation of the ABC television series “The Fall Guy” starring Lee Majors. With additional lyrics by the producer, Glen Larson, it became the show’s theme, as well as the iconic song about stuntmen. Somerville’s home was used as the set for the home of Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) in the television series. With Bruce Belland, Somerville co-wrote “The Troublemaker” which became the title tune of 2 Willie Nelson albums. Also through the years Dave has been in demand as a voice-over artist in Hollywood.

In more recent ventures, Somerville sang in a later version of The Four Preps, “Triple Gold”, with Jim Yester of The Association and Bruce Belland. Occasionally, he still sings lead in his original group, The Diamonds, when they get together for oldies shows and PBS specials. His children’s album, “The Cosmic Adventures of Diamond Dave”, contains many original songs and has received critical acclaim. Dave performs his current themed act, "On The 1957 Rock & Roll Greyhound Bus”, which is based on rock and roll’s first major touring show, at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre in Branson, MO six days a week through 2008. He’s been honored in 4 musical Halls of Fame.

Television

  • Double Dare, Co-Star, NBC
  • Automan, Featured, 20 Century Fox
  • Fall Guy, Featured, Co-Wrote Theme, Glen Larson Productions
  • Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Co-Star, Universal
  • The Gathering, Star, Metromedia
  • Rooster, Principle, 20 Century Fox
  • McCloud, Co-Star, Glen Larson Productions
  • Star Trek TOS, Featured, Paramount
  • Tim Conway Show, Star, CBS
  • Steve Allen, Guest Star, NBC
  • Merv Griffin Show, Guest Star, KTTV
  • Billboard Awards, Star, CBS
  • Tonight Show, Guest Star, NBC
  • American Bandstand, Guest Star, Dick Clark Productions
  • Tony Bennett Show, Guest Star, NBC
  • Midnight Special, Guest Star, NBC
  • Henry Mancini Special, Guest Star, NBC
  • Smothers Bros. Special, Guest Star, NBC
  • Spiderman, Principal, Universal
  • Perry Como, Guest Star, NBC
  • Mike Douglas Show, Guest Star, Mike Douglas Productions
  • Doo Wop 51, Star, PBS Special
  • Magic Moments, The Best of 50s Pop, Star, PBS Special

Motion Pictures

  • The Big Beat, Star, Universal
  • A Sign of the Times, Star, Orsatti Productions
  • The Doberman Gang, Principle, Rosamond Productions

Stage

  • Two Dreams Met, Spence Baldwin, Theatre 206, Los Angeles
  • Dew Drop Inn Sam, Cast Theatre, Los Angeles

Spokesman

  • TRW
  • Sony
  • City of Simi Valley
  • American Trails
  • Southwind Recreational Vehicles
  • Candle Corporation

Voice Overs

  • Mattel
  • Coleman Camping Gear
  • CNR Clothiers
  • Avia Shoes
  • Toyota
  • Motown Records
  • Shopping Malls
  • The Fall Guy
  • Ford
  • Pro Hardware
  • Micom Computers
  • Carlo Rossi Wine
  • International House of Pancakes
  • Chicago Rib Broker Restaurants
  • Magnum P. I.

Awards As A Member Of The Diamonds

  • 1984 Received the "Juno" award and inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
  • October, 2004, Inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa.
  • 2006, Inducted into The Doo-Wop Hall of Fame.

External links

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