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The 1950’s Fabulous Foursome! This   is   a   fan   site   of   the   original   Diamonds   of   the   1950s. All hailing   from   Canada,   they   made   their   way   to      the   U.   S., and   with   their   songs   and   energy,   endeared   themselves   to their fans forever.
phil levitt phil levitt
Phil   Levitt   -   Born   July   9,   1935.   Phil   was   (and   is)   a   person   who   really   sang   just   for   the   love   of   singing.   In high   school   he   sang   with   the   choir,   boy's   ensemble,   and   a   quartet,   which   is   where   he   tasted   his   first   bit of   glory   as   a   performer,   in   a   highly   successful   performance   at   the   graduation   ceremonies.   Little   did   he know that he would be a member of one of the most popular singing groups of the 1950s.
The   summer   after   high   school,   Phil   and   his   best   friend   Stan   Fisher   went   to   a   vacation   spot   called   Crystal   Beach, not   far   from   Toronto.   One   of   the   favorite   spots   where   all   the   young   people   hung   out   was   called   the   Swing   Inn. While   Phil   and   Stan   were   walking   up   a   dark   side   street   on   their   way   back   to   the   cottage,   they   started   harmonizing to   "I’d   Rather   Die   Young"   (The   Hilltoppers),   which   they'd   just   listened   to   around   15   times   on   the   juke   box   at   the Swing   Inn.   All   at   once   they   heard   a   commotion   and   four   girls   came   running   from   out   of   the   darkness,      gushing over   how   great   they   sounded   and   asking   them   to   sing   some   more.   Taken   totally   aback   they   fled,   but   harmonized a LOT for the rest of the vacation. That   fall   Phil   went   into   electrical   engineering   and   Stan   entered   law   school,   both   at   the   University   of   Toronto.   One   day   Phil's   class   was   out on   the   campus   in   groups   carrying   out   a   surveying   project.   Ted   Kowalski,   whom   Phil   barely   knew,   was   in   Phil's   group. After   just   hearing   Ted speak,   Phil   jokingly   said   to   him   that   he   sounded   like   a   tenor   and   Ted   said   that   in   fact   he   was.   Phil's   mind   immediately   raced   back   to memories   of   the   ovation   for   his   high   school   trio   and   of   the   girls   running   out   of   the   shadows   at   Crystal   Beach.   Phil   told   Ted   that   he   and   a buddy   of   his   were   doing   some   harmonizing   and   asked   him   to   join   them   and Ted   said   OK,   and   it   worked   out   well.   Phil   and   Stan   thought Ted was   great,   loved   the   sound,   and   had   a   lot   of   fun   singing.   Ted   mentioned   that   he   had   a   buddy   who   sang   bass   and   suggested   that   he   join them   to   form   a   quartet.   His   name   was   Bill   Reed.   They   arranged   to   meet   Bill   at   a   local   dance   club   (The   Lebanese   Club)   where   they   had been   doing   some   amateur   singing.   When   Bill   arrived   they   went   out   into   Phil's   beat-up   ’47   Chevy   and   harmonized   on   "Down   By   The Riverside"   and   a   few   other   songs.   It   was   love   at   first   sound. They   thought   the   mix   was   great,   and   that   Bills   voice   was   simply   marvelous. As of that moment, they were a group. After   a   while   they   had   developed   a   bit   of   a   repertoire   (around   5   songs!)   and   thought   it   was   time   to   try   out   for   a   local   C.B.C   (Canadian Broadcasting   Corp.)   television   talent   show,   "Pick   The   Stars".   They   went   to   the   C.B.C   building   on   the   appointed   night   and   were   practicing nervously   and   quietly   in   a   corridor   outside   the   studio. A   guy   walked   by,   did   a   U-turn   and   came   up   to   listen.   They   started   talking   and,   when he   learned   details   of   the   group,   especially   the   extent   of   their   repertoire;   he   told   them   that   he   didn’t   think   they   were   ready   to   do   the   show.   He told   them   that   he   was   knowledgeable   in   music   and   that   he   worked   at   C.B.C   (sound   engineer)   and   could   get   them   into   studios   to   rehearse, and   he   offered   to   become   their   manager.   They   accepted.   This   was   Dave   Somerville.   Shortly   after   meeting   Dave,   the   group   decided   to   go professional.   Stan   Fisher   opted   to   stay   in   school   and   Dave   Somerville,   who,   it   turned   out,   had   a   great,   classically   trained   voice,   became   the lead singer. Phil   was   enjoying   the   success   of   The   Diamonds   as   they   went   thru   the   growing   stages,   however,   shortly   after   The   Diamonds   started recording   for   Mercury,   he   had   begun   to   fall   out   of   love   with   show   business   life.   He   enjoyed   the   fact   that   The   Diamonds   had   obtained recognition   and   he   generally   liked   the   people   in   the   business.   On   the   other   hand   he   had   become   weary   of   the   endless   stream   of   hotel stays,   restaurant   meals,   and   airline   flights.   But   more   than   that,   he   missed   the   main   reason   for   singing,   which   had   been   The   Diamonds'   first love   but   which   now   consisted   of   performing   the   same   songs,   night   after   night   after   night.   Never   having   really   been   infected   by   the   show business   "bug",   Phil   now   found   that   the   fun,   the   other   main   driving   force,   was   pretty   well   gone. Also,   thinking   practically,   it   was   hard   to   see how   a   person   could   combine   life   on   the   road   with   marriage   and   children,   and   he   certainly   wanted   those.   He   was   also   anxious   to   return   to school.   Even   the   enormous   success   of   "Little   Darlin’"   failed   to   change   anything   drastically.   Phil   decided   in   the   spring   of   1957   that   he   would leave.   Mike   Douglas   replaced   Phil   as   baritone   and   that   fall   he   entered   second   year   engineering.   Phil   spent   his   working   career   as   an electrical engineer. Now retired, he occasionally makes public appearances with the original Diamonds. To quote Phil: "As   a   footnote,   I   have   to   say   that,   for   me,   the   most   marvelous   thing   about   being   part   of   the   group   was   in   the   early   amateur   days   when, alone   in   someone’s   living   room   or   basement,   we   put   together   an   arrangement   for   a   new   song.   Typically,   one   of   us   would   suggest something,   perhaps   "I   Ran   All   the   Way   Home"   by   the   Mills   Brothers.   Then   Dave   would   simply   start   to   sing   the   melody   and   Bill,   Ted   and   I would   search   out   our   parts   and,   generally,   within   10   to   15   minutes,   we   had   something   really   listenable.   There   were   no   microphones   and   no instruments,   just   our   voices,   and   the   blend   was   smooth   and   the   sound   was   beautiful,   to   my   ears   anyway,   and   I   remember   wishing   the   song and the evening could just go on forever". See the 2020 article on Phil from his high school.
Phil on the left in his aforementioned highly successful performance at the graduation ceremonies.
(Click photo for larger view)