Dave Somerville

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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[edit]

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. Somerville studied radio and in 1952 secured a position at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the engineering department as a radio operator while concurrently studying voice with Dr. Ernesto Vinci at the University of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. In the hallway of the C.B.C. during the fall of 1953, Somerville met by chance an unnamed quartet (Stan Fisher, Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt and Bill Reed) and soon became their vocal coach. 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 New York City. In February 1956 with the recommendation of Cleveland’s genius DJ, Dr. Bill Randle, they signed a long-term contract with Mercury Records. Somerville performed eight years with The Diamonds singing lead on all sixteen of their Billboard hits, peaking with the song “Little Darlin'”, that for eight weeks remained at #2 on the charts, becoming the third best selling single record of 1957.

Multiple appearances on American Bandstand, The Perry Como Show and The Steve Allen Show increased Dave's visibllity. In August 1961, he left The Diamonds, married Judy Corns of Evansville, IN, and began a six year solo career as "folk artist" David Troy. In 1967, his only child David Orlando “Landa” Somerville (now also a singer/songwriter) was born.

That same year, Dave joined The Four Preps as a replacement for Ed Cobb, the original bass singer. In 1969, he and Bruce Belland (original lead singer of The Four Preps) concentrated on a folk/comedy act. The duo, Belland & Somerville, appeared in concert with Henry Mancini and Johnny Mathis and were regulars on the CBS prime time TV comedy series “The Tim Conway Show”. As songwriters, Bruce and Dave co-wrote “The Troublemaker”, which became the title track of two Willie Nelson albums; and the duo sang in a later version of The Four Preps with Jim Pike of The Lettermen.

In 1972 Somerville founded and performed with Keith Barbour and Gail Jensen in the group WW Fancy. In the late 1980s he again sang with original members of The Diamonds and also returned to The Four Preps with Bruce Belland, Ed Cobb and Jim Yester of The Association.

Dave studied acting under Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy and guest-starred on numerous TV shows, including the original Star Trek series as Lt. Larry Matson. As a voice-over artist with the William Morris Agency, he has been heard on hundreds of spots for radio, television and cable.

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 series' creator and producer Glen Larson (original baritone singer of The Four Preps), it became the show’s theme and is recognized as the most definitive song about stuntmen. Somerville’s home in the Hollywood Hills was used as the set for the home of Colt Seavers (Lee Majors). Dave's first children’s album “The Cosmic Adventures of Diamond Dave”, contains many original songs and characters and has received critical acclaim in the U.S. and Canada.

The Diamonds have been honored and inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, The Doo Wop Hall of Fame, The Rockabilly Hall of Fame and are recipients of Canada's prestigious Juno Award.

Somerville's current stage show "On The 1957 Rock & Roll Greyhound Bus”, is based on rock and roll’s first major tour. Dave tells road stories and sings the songs of a dozen pioneer jukebox giants - Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry and more.

Television[edit]

  • Double Dare, Co-Star, NBC
  • Automan, Featured, 20th Century Fox
  • Fall Guy, Featured, Co-Wrote Theme, Glen Larson Productions
  • Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Co-Star, Universal
  • The Gathering, Star, Metromedia
  • Rooster, Principle, 20th 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[edit]

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

Stage[edit]

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

Spokesman[edit]

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

Voice Overs[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]