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Little Darlin’ The Gladiolas and The Diamonds

Little Darlin by The Diamonds

Doo Wop

Ah, the music business can be fickle; sometimes the public prefers a spoof to the original. Such is the case with the classic R&B doo wop song “Little Darlin’,” which was written by Maurice Williams. He was from Lancaster, South Carolina, and grew up with music in the church. He first formed a group with friends and The Junior Harmonizers became the Royal Charms and then The Gladiolas (that is, before becoming Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, but that’s a story for another day). Besides Williams, The Gladiolas consisted of Earl Gainey, William Massey, Willie Jones, and Norman Wade. They recorded “Little Darlin'” for the Excello records label. In 1957, the song went to #11 on the R&B Chart, but only made #41 on the U.S. Pop chart. Most people know the cover by The Diamonds, but The Gladiolas’ version has nice falsetto singing and a pronounced West Indian beat.

The Diamonds formed in Toronto, Canada, in the early 1950s. They had one of their biggest charting singles with “Little Darlin’,” which peaked at #2 on the U.S. Pop chart in 1957. The original members were Dave Somerville, Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt, and Bill Reed. The group had many TV appearances, including the shows of Arthur Godfrey, Steve Allen, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Tony Bennette, Eddy Arnold, and Paul Winchell, as well as American Bandstand. Their verion of “Little Darlin'” parodies the doo-wop elements, such as the falsetto singing, the spoken element, and the nonsense syllables (e.g,. “eye-y-eye-eye-eye” and “hoopa hoopa”). It might be a parody, but they sing it with passion.

Other artists who covered the song including Elvis Presley, Sha Na Na, The Chevrons, The Four Seasons, and The Monkees.

Here are the lyrics:

“Eye, yi-eye-eye-eye
Yi-eye-eye-eye
Ya-ya-ya-ahh

Little darlin’, oh, little darlin’
Oh-oh-oh where a-are you?
My love-a, I was wrong-a
To-oo try to lo-ove two
A-hoopa, a-hoopa, hoopa
Kno-ow well-a that my love-a
Wa-as just fo-or you, oh only you

My darlin’, I need you
To call my own and never do wrong
To hold in mine your little hand
I’ll know too soon that all is so grand
Please, hold my hand

My dear-a I, I was wrong-a
To-oo try to lo-ove two
A-hoopa, a-hoopa, hoopa
Know well-a that my love-a
Wa-as just fo-or you, oh only you”

Whichever version you prefer, it’s still become a golden oldies favorite.

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop. Hope you enjoyed “Little Darlin'” by The Gladiolas and by The Diamonds.

8 Comments

  1. Sharon Murphy says:

    Loved all those old songs and used to dance to a lot of them I showed some young people how to do. Some of those old dances at work one night, swim mashed potatoes the monkey etc they were getting a kick out of them
    If you can like to hear some of Jimmy Clayton songs. Ty

  2. […] Maurice Williams was born in Lancaster, South Carolina, growing up with music from his church. Williams formed a gospel group called the Junior Harmonizers, but their interests veered towards rock and roll and doo-wop, and they changed their name to the Royal Charms. In 1957, they changed their name to the Gladiolas and then in 1958 to the Excellos before settling on The Zodiacs. Williams wrote one of doo-wop’s anthems, “Little Darlin'” and recorded it with The Gladiolas. The Canadian group The Diamonds had the big hit with that song, though. If you would like to read about those two versions of “Little Darlin’,” please click here. […]

  3. Nikki says:

    The Diamonds do a great version, but the real doo wop group is Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs.

  4. Arianna says:

    Thx for keeping all of this great doo wop music alive. My favorite music.

  5. Brittany says:

    I think I like the original better. That’s real doo wop music. But, on the other hand, the version I always heard was by The Diamonds, even if they were making fun of doo wop.

  6. sammy reese says:

    Cool. Knew about the diamonds but not the zodiacs. Both good in their way. Love doo wop and 1950s music!

  7. […] The Diamonds formed in Toronto, Canada, in the early 1950s. They had one of their biggest charting singles with “Little Darlin’,” which peaked at #2 and stayed there for 8 weeks on the U.S. Pop chart in 1957. The original members were Dave Somerville, Ted Kowalski, Phil Levitt, and Bill Reed. The group had many TV appearances, including the shows of Arthur Godfrey, Steve Allen, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Tony Bennett, Eddy Arnold, and Paul Winchell, as well as American Bandstand. The Diamonds were instrumental in bringing doo wop and rock n roll to a mainstream audience. If you would like to read about The Diamonds’ hit “Little Darlin'” and its beginnings, please click here. […]

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