Dave Somerville, Lead Singer of the Doo-Wop Group The Diamonds, Dies at 81

Courtesy of Prodigy Public Relations
From left: Phil Levitt, Ted Kowalski, Dave Somerville and Bill Reed of The Diamonds in 1954.

He also co-wrote “The (Ballad of the) Unknown Stuntman,” the theme from TV's 'The Fall Guy,' and appeared on such TV shows as 'Star Trek' and 'McCloud.'

Dave Somerville, the lead singer of the famed doo-wop group The Diamonds, best known for their 1957 hit “Little Darlin’,” has died. He was 81.

Somerville, also known as the co-writer of “The (Ballad of the) Unknown Stuntman,” the theme song to the 1981–86 ABC series The Fall Guy, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer in a hospital in Santa Barbara, publicist Jason Kasperski announced.
 
The other co-writer of the Fall Guy theme song was the show’s creator, Glen A. Larson — Somerville had joined Larson’s own quartet, The Four Preps, in 1967 — and Majors sang the song. A sample lyric:
 
“On my fall from the Tower Building, so Burt Reynolds don't get hurt
I might leap the mighty canyon, so he can kiss and flirt
Well, that smooth talker's kissing my girl — I’m just kissing dirt
Yes, I’m the lonely stuntman that made a lover out of Burt.”
 
A native of Guelph, Ontario, Somerville also did some acting. Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy was his drama coach, and Somerville appeared in a small role in the season one Trek episode "The Conscience of the King" as well as on the series McCloud, Quincy, M.E. and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (those three shows were produced by Larson).
 
 
 
The Diamonds, a Canadian vocal quartet that also featured original members Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt and Bill Reed, were “discovered” by legendary Cleveland D.J. Dr. Bill Randle, who led them to a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1956.
 
In addition to their million-selling version of “Little Darlin’,” which spent eight weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart, they had hits with a version of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love, ” released in 1956, and “The Stroll” and “Silhouettes,” released in 1957. They managed 15 Top 40 hits between 1956 and 1961.

In the fall of 1957, The Diamonds joined what would be a legendary rock ’n’ roll bus tour with such other rising stars as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, LaVern Baker, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly , performing one-nighters for a two-month stretch.

Somerville, a baritone with a four-octave vocal range, exited the group in 1961 to pursue a folk singing career as David Troy. After his stint with the Preps, he exited with Bruce Belland to perform with Jim Yester, a founding member of The Association, as Yester, Belland & Somerville. They appeared on The Johnny Cash Show and as regulars on The Tim Conway Show.
 
He and Belland also collaborated on such songs as “The Troublemaker,” a hit for Willie Nelson.
 
Somerville, who lived in Hollywood, is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Doo Wop Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Doo Wop Hall of Fame of America and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. 
 
Survivors include his wife Denise, son David and grandson Chilao.

The family asks that memorial contributions in his name be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care in Santa Barbara.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4
 
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