This Diamond Ring

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"This Diamond Ring" is a 1965 song written by Al Kooper, Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine. It was first recorded by Sammy Ambrose on Musicor #1061, then by Gary Lewis & the Playboys[1] on Liberty #55756. Lewis's version charted first, #101 on the January 2, 1965 Billboard "Bubbling Under" chart. Both versions charted on January 9, Lewis still at #101 and Ambrose at #117. Ambrose dropped off the charts at that point, but Lewis made #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the next week (January 16) and his version continued to climb until it reached #1 on February 20, 1965.

Gary Lewis & the Playboys version[edit]

"This Diamond Ring"
Single by Gary Lewis & the Playboys
from the album This Diamond Ring
B-side ""Hard to Find" (original B-side)
"Tijuana Wedding" (later pressings)"
Released January 1965 (1965-01)
Recorded November 30, 1964 (1964-11-30)
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:01
Label Liberty
Songwriter(s) Al Kooper, Bob Brass, Irwin Levine
Producer(s) Snuff Garrett
Gary Lewis & the Playboys singles chronology
"This Diamond Ring"
"Count Me In"

None of the Playboys played their instruments on the hit recording except on the backing tracks and Lewis's vocals were heavily supported by Ron Hicklin's overdubs.[2] The music was performed by members of The Wrecking Crew. The session drummer was Hal Blaine,[3] Joe Osborn played bass[4] and Leon Russell both played keyboards and arranged the music. The song was produced by Snuff Garrett.

Stylistically, the song's recording features the then common "basic 'combo' instrumentation...(electric guitar, organ, bass, drums), modal (dorian) inflections in the harmony and melody of the verse and a basic rock beat pattern." Unusually the chorus features timpani and the transition between verse and chorus creates a daring modulation from C minor (dorian) to G-flat major.[5]

"The musical style," writes Brackett, "skims aspects from contemporary rock songs, and is then produced and arranged from the vantage point of 'easy-listening' music." The song's harmonic progression resembles those of Beatles songs such as the G-flat/F/E-flat/D-flat descending bass line ("Bad to Me") and the vi-iii movement ("Please Please Me," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You," "And I Love Her," and others). The melodic turn on "true" of "if you find someone whose heart is true" resembles those in "Please Please Me" ("Last night I said these words to my girl") and "Do You Want to Know a Secret" ("nobody knows, just we two").[6]

Al Kooper has reportedly stated many times that he was unhappy with the record and had originally hoped the song would be recorded by a group like The Drifters based upon the original demo of the song as recorded by Jimmy Radcliffe, although it has been his biggest commercial success as a songwriter. Kooper would later re-visit the song, recording a funky version for his 1976 album Act Like Nothing's Wrong.

Other versions[edit]

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1965 album Chipmunks à Go-Go.


  1. ^ Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Complete Liberty Singles, Collectors' Choice CCM-2013 (2009)
  2. ^ Brackett, David (1995/2000). Interpreting Popular Music, p.2-3. ISBN 0-520-22541-4.
  3. ^ Brackett (1995/2000), p.5.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Brackett (1995/2000), p.3-4.
  6. ^ Brackett (1995/2000), p.4.
Preceded by
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 20, 1965 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"My Girl" by The Temptations