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DAVID SOMERVILLE

MI0001355065

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Full Name:

Description: Vocalist, USA

Known For: Little Darlin

Instruments: Voice

Music Styles: Popular,Rock

Location: Australia

Date Born: 13th November 1934

CONTACT DETAILS
Web Site:   Official website

Other Links: See below:

YOUTUBE VIDEO

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

David Somerville, also called “Diamond” Dave Somerville (October 2, 1933 – July 14, 2015) was a Canadian singer operating primarily in the United States, best known as the co-founder, and original lead singer, of The Diamonds, one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1950s.

Born in Guelph, Ontario, Somerville grew up in a musical family in the nearby farming village of Rockwood, 50 miles west of Toronto. In 1947, at the age of 14, he moved to Toronto with his parents and brother Marc, where he entered Central Tech to study architecture and building construction. He is not known to have specified when he realized that neither architecture nor building construction would be his career. It is known, however, that he changed the focus of his studies to radio, and that in 1952, at the age of 19, he 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.

Years with the Diamonds

Main article: The Diamonds

Formation of the Diamonds

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.

Prominence

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 chart selections, peaking with the song “Little Darlin’;” for eight weeks, this selection 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.

Career after the Diamonds

The 1960s, including the “David Troy” years

After leaving the Diamonds, Somerville married Judy Corns of Evansville, IN, and began a six-year solo career as a folk artist, using the stage name David Troy. (The origin of this stage name was not known as of the middle of August 2014.) During this period, Somerville also studied acting, with Leonard Nimoy as his teacher, and made numerous guest-starring appearances, often credited as “David Troy,” on various television programs. One of these was in “The Conscience of the King,” an episode of the original Star Trek (of which Nimoy, his acting coach, was one of the regular cast members) that dealt with an infamous but guilt-plagued criminal; Somerville, credited as Troy, acted out the role of Lieutenant Lawrence “Larry” Matson in the episode. This was also the time in his career when he became one of the clients of the William Morris Agency, which has since merged with the Endeavor Talent Agency to become the present-day William Morris-Endeavor agency. As such, he did extensive voice-over work and was heard in hundreds of radio, television and cable advertisements.

In 1967, Somerville’s only child from his marriage to Corns, David Orlando Somerville, was born; as an adult, he too became a singer-songwriter like his father, calling himself “Landa” Somerville.

Also in 1967, Dave joined The Four Preps as a replacement for Ed Cobb, the original bass singer. In 1969, he and Bruce Belland, the Four Preps’s original lead singer, concentrated on a folk/comedy act as the duo of Belland & Somerville. As such, they appeared in concert with Henry Mancini and Johnny Mathis and were regulars on The Tim Conway Show, a CBS-TV prime-time comedy series. 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 roster of the Four Preps with Jim Pike of The Lettermen.

1970s and 1980s

In 1972, Somerville formed the group WW Fancy, which also included Keith Barbour and Gail Jensen as members. 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.

Somerville’s song “The (Ballad of the) Unknown Stuntman,” jointly written and composed with Jensen, inspired Glen Larson, who had been the Four Preps’s original baritone vocalist, to create the central characters and develop the core format of The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors, for 20th Century Fox Television, which became a highly successful television series for ABC-TV. With additional lyrics which Larson wrote for it, “The Unknown Stuntman” became the theme for The Fall Guy and earned recognition as the most definitive song about stuntmen. Somerville’s home in the Hollywood Hills was used as the set for the home of Majors’s character, Colt Seavers. (According to the format of The Fall Guy, which co-starred Douglas Barr and Heather Thomas alongside Majors, Seavers supplemented his rather modest stunt-work income as a “bounty hunter,” an informal term for a bail-bond recovery agent.)

1990s and beyond

His first children’s album was titled The Cosmic Adventures of Diamond Dave. It contained many original songs and characters and 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 most recent stage show, “On The 1957 Rock & Roll Greyhound Bus,” was based on rock and roll’s first major tour. In it, he told road stories and sang the songs of such pioneer jukebox giants as Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, and Chuck Berry.

Somerville died of cancer in Santa Barbara, California on July 14, 2015 at the age of 81.

Television

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
Spider-Man, 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

Spokesman

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

Voice overs

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

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.

 

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