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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.
diamond in the midst diamond in the midst
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Recently   I   found   out   that   a   Diamond   resides   right   here   in   good   ole   Whitby.   He   is   Ted Kowalski,   one   of   the   original   members   of   Canada’s   eminent   rock   ‘n   roll   vocal   quartet   from the 1950s, The Diamonds. When   opportunity   knocks   you   take   it. Thanks   to Ted   and   his   vivacious   wife   Valare’s   invitation to come on over to their home, I was able to talk with the former Diamonds’ tenor. The   group   achieved   substantial   success   during   the   heady   days   of   the   Fifties,   including   their biggest   hit,   the   enduring   Little   Darlin’ (1957),   a   milestone   recording   that   has   sold   millions   and millions of copies the world over. The   Diamonds   came   to   fruition   during   a   chance   meeting   with   Dave   Somerville   in   the   hall   of CBC studios in 1953. “I   was   going   to   University   of   Toronto   at   the   time   to   study   Engineering,”   explained   Ted.   “I   met Phil   Levitt   and   he   knew   a   guy   called   Stan   Fisher   and   I   knew   Bill   Reed.   We   got   together   as   a team and tried to emulate The Four Lads and The Four Aces.
There’s a Diamond in Our Midst by Andrew Merey (Used by Permission)
We   had   a   couple   of   songs   and   decided   to   try   out   for   a   Toronto   show   called   ‘Pick   The   Stars’.   We   were   rehearsing   at   the   CBC   when   their record   spinner,   Dave   Somerville   heard   us   and   liked   us.   We   did   the   show   and   met   our   manager   Nat   Goodman.   Stan   Fisher   couldn’t   make it to the show, so  Dave stepped in. From then on, it just went.” Five   years   after   The   Diamonds’   inception,   Ted   Kowalski   decided   to   call   it   quits   and   shift   to   more   stable   career   moves.   “I   decided   there was no real future in it”, he says. “So I resumed my studies in Engineering. Same   with   Phil,   he   went   there   the   year   before.   After   I      graduated   in   1964,   I   went   back   to   my   singing   career   as   a   sideline   to   my   full-time job. First I sang with a big band and then I joined a group called The Generations in early 1977.” The   Generations   ensemble   did   very   well   with   Ted   as   the   featured   soloist,   virtually   performing   on   a   weekly   basis.   They   were   in   demand, appealing to both young and old with their songs, and would continue to do so for nearly twenty years. During   the   last   decade   or   so, Ted   has   enjoyed,   time   and   again,   attending   various   reunion   and   award   events   with The   Diamonds,   including induction into The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. In   the   more   immediate   past,   there’s   been   a   rough   go   of   health   problems   for   him   but   admirably,   he   withstood   and   survived   the   ordeals. Although mindful of his frailty, Ted is feeling much better these days, and for that we’re grateful. The   meeting   was   capped   with   a   most   interesting   tour   of   Ted’s   gallery   of   awards   and   mementoes   from   years   gone   by.   One   item   that quickly   caught   my   eye   was   a   gold   record   of   Little   Darlin’ .   “There   are   two   more   singles   that   were   certified   gold   [ Silhouettes   (1957)   and   The Stroll (1958)] but I never did get copies of them.”   I   sensed   that,   given   Ted’s   health   battles,   talking   about   his   career   in   music   during   this   assignation,   uplifted   his   moods.   “They   were   good times then,” he lamented. Amen to that. At the beginning... “We   used   to   stand   on   the   corner   of   Bloor   and   Yonge   in   Toronto,   next   to   Fran’s   Restaurant   and   sing   harmony.   The   Crew   Cuts   and   The Four   Lads   used   to   do   the   same   thing   but   some   people   were   not   at   all   pleased;   the   type   of   songs   were   unheard   of,   even   risqué,   like   The Four Lads’ Standing On The Corner , watching all the girls go by. That’s where the idea for the song came from.” About The Diamond’s “The Stroll”... “Brook Benton was the one that taught us how to sing The Stroll . Clyde Otis produced it.” An anecdote from the innocent years... “We   didn’t   know   much   of   anything   back   then...we   [The   Diamonds]   were   driving   along   the   Pennsylvania   Turnpike   and   it   was   hot   that   day, really   hot.   We’re   all   perspiring   and   as   we   look   out   the   windows   at   the   cars   going   by   and   see   some   of   the   windows   are   closed   and   it looked   so   cool   in   the   cars.   We   thought,   maybe   that’s   the   secret,   so   we   roll   up   our   own   windows,   this   is   what   keeps   you   cool,   and   then   we sweated   like   crazy!   We   pulled   into   a   gas   station   and   we   asked   the   gas   attendant,   how   come   all   the   cars   that   go   by   that   don’t   have   their windows   open,   they   look   so   cool?   He   said   to   us,   they   got   air-conditioning.   What???   In   cars??   We   had   never   heard   of   cars   having   air- conditioning!” About leaving The Diamonds... “I didn’t regret leaving The Diamonds right away, but later on I did. I missed performing, the applause, being on stage.” About the ‘handkerchief-over-his-head’ routine while singing, la la la la,  on “Little Darlin’”.... “Gene Kelly [American actor, dancer] told me to do that. He was doing another show and came over, suggesting the idea.” About Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley... Ted:   “When   we   went   on   bus   tours   we   used   to   sing   together   with   Buddy   Holly,   who   played   his   ukulele;   he   was   still   with   The   Crickets   then. He was a great talented guy, very humble, very down to earth.” Andrew: “What about Elvis?” Ted: “Yes, I met him in L.A. He wanted to take her [Valare] out.” Andrew: “Take her out? And what did you say?” Valare: “I said no.” Andrew: “You said no to the King Of Rock ‘N Roll??? Why?” Valare: “Because he sent one of his managers over to ask me.” Andrew: “Oh, I see. What year did that happen?” Ted: “Sometime before we were married in 1960.”
T ed    Kowalski,    once    a    member    of    the    popular Canadian   quartet,   The   Diamonds,   of   the   1950   and early   60s,   is   pictured   with   his   gold   record   for   Little Darlin’,   October   6,   2009.   Photo   -   Jason   Liebregts/     Metroland