Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: The Diamonds

Words of Love

Written and first recorded by Buddy Holly (1957).
Hit version by The Diamonds (US #13/R&B #12/CAN #47 1957).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1964).

From the wiki: “‘Words of Love’ was written by Buddy Holly and recorded by him on April 8, 1957. Holly sang all the harmonies, with producer Norman Petty double-tracking each part and combining them. The song was not a notable hit for Holly, although it is regarded as one of his most important recordings.

“However, the cover version by the Canadian quartet The Diamonds (‘Little Darlin”, ‘Silhouettes‘), released in May 1957, reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July, making the song Holly’s first hit, though as a composer not performer. (The Crickets’ ‘That’ll Be the Day’ wouldn’t peak on the Billboard charts until Sept. 27, 1957. The Diamonds’ ‘Words of Love’ peaked in July, 1957.)

“‘Words of Love’ was also covered by The Beatles on the album Beatles for Sale. Their association with the song dates back to the group’s earliest days playing The Cavern in 1961 and 1962. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were big Buddy Holly fans; it would be Holly’s songs that first inspired and compelled them to become songwriters.”

Church Bells May Ring

First recorded by The Willows (US #62/R&B #11 1956).
Other hit version by The Diamonds (US #14/CAN #23 1956).

From the wiki: “After two flops as ‘The Five Willows’ in 1954, the group hit as The Willows in 1956 with ‘Church Bells May Ring’ (which featured an uncredited Neil Sedaka playing the chimes).

“As the Willows’ original version began climbing the charts, a number of cover singles were quickly released to cash in on the song’s popularity, including one by The Cadets (‘Stranded in the Jungle’). However, the biggest cover by far of ‘Church Bells May Ring’ came from a Canadian group, the Diamonds (‘Little Darlin”, ‘Silhouettes’).

“The Willows’ arrangement hit #11 of the R&B chart but stalled at #62 on the Billboard pop chart while the Diamonds’ single soared to a peak at #14 on the Hot 100.”

Silhouettes

First recorded by The Rays (US #3/R&B #3 1957).
Other hit versions by The Diamonds (US #10/R&B #6 1957), Herman’s Hermits (US #5/UK #3 1965), Cliff Richard (UK #10 1990).
Also recorded by Frankie Lymon (1960), Bob Crewe (1961), Paul Anka (1961), The Four Seasons (1964), The Nylons (1982).

From the wiki: “In May 1957, songwriter-producer Bob Crewe (‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)‘, ‘Lady Marmalade‘, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Silence is Golden‘) saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed-by on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.

“The Rays’ original recording received a break when popular Philadelphia disc-jockey Hy Lit fell asleep at home listening to a stack of newly-released records on his record player. ‘Silhouettes’ happened to be the last record to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. Lit began to playing the song on his show and it became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution. The Rays’ ‘Silhouettes’ eventually reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100, while also hitting the Top-5 on both the sales and airplay charts. It became the group’s only Top 40 hit.

Little Darlin’

First recorded by The Gladiolas (R&B #11 1957).
Other hit version by The Diamonds (US #2 1957).
Also recorded by Sha Na Na (1969), Elvis Presley (1977).

From the wiki: “‘Little Darlin” was written by Maurice Williams and recorded as a rhythm-and-blues song by Williams’s R&B group, The Gladiolas, and quickly released in January 1957 by Excello Records.The Gladiolas, featuring Williams, were from Lancaster, South Carolina, where they had been together since high school. Their original version of the song peaked at #11 on the R&B charts in April 1957, but barely dented the Billboard Hot 100. (By 1959, Williams’ group became ‘Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ (‘Stay’).)

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