Little Darlin'

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for the jazz standard of the same year see "Li'l Darlin'"
"Little Darlin'"
Single by The Diamonds
B-side Faithful and True
Released February 8, 1957
Format Single
Genre Rock
Length 2:05
Label Mercury Records
Writer(s) Maurice Williams
Certification Gold[clarification needed]
"Little Darlin'"
Song by Elvis Presley
Released July 19, 1977
Recorded April 24, 1977
Genre Rock
Length 1:56
Label RCA Records
Writer Maurice Williams

"Little Darlin'" is a popular Top 40 song, made famous by the Diamonds.[1]

The Gladiolas' version[edit]

It was written by Maurice Williams with both melody and doo-wop accompaniment strongly emphasizing the clave rhythm. It was first recorded by Excello Records in January 1957 and quickly released as a rhythm-and-blues song by Williams's R&B group, The Gladiolas. The song is noted for its spoken recitation by the lead singer ("My Darlin' I need you..."). The Gladiolas, featuring Williams, were from Lancaster, South Carolina, where they had been together since high school. Their original version of the song was on the small Excello label.(Excello primarily recording "swamp blues" songs in Crowley, Louisiana. The Gladiolas song peaked at number 11 on the R&B charts in April 1957, but barely dented the hot 100. By 1959, Williams' group became "Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs" with the rock 'n roll- R&B hit "Stay."

The Diamonds' version[edit]

The Diamonds' version followed a month later. The Diamonds were soon covering Little Darlin' successfully.[1] The Diamonds were a Canadian pop group that evolved into a Doo-Wop group. The Diamonds' version reached number two in sales for eight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked this version as the No. 3 song for 1957.[2]

The Diamonds' version is generally considered a superior version (though some die hard R&B purists disdain it since it is a cover).[citation needed] Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine argues that the Diamonds Little Darlin' is an unusual example of a cover being better than the original:

[T]he Diamonds' take remained the bigger hit, and over the years, the better-known version. Normally, this would have been an outrage, but there's a reason why the Diamonds' version has sustained its popularity over the years: it's a better, fiercer recording. Both versions are good, even if they're a little silly, because it's a good doo wop song, giving each member of the quartet a lot to do. At times, the vocal phrases verge on self-parody -- the "ai-ya-yi-yai-yai-ya"'s or the "wella-wella"'s -- which may be why The Diamonds' version is superior.[3]

On the Pop Chronicles, host John Gilliland claimed that their version was in fact a parody of the genre.[1] Nonetheless, Little Darlin' (primarily the Diamonds' version, but to some extent the Gladiolas' version) remains an all-time Rock 'n Roll R&B classic.[1]

Other recordings[edit]

The song was later recorded by Elvis Presley for his final album, Moody Blue (1977). Rock-and-roll-revival group Sha Na Na performed "Little Darlin'" at the Woodstock Festival, held in White Lake, New York, in 1969.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]