The Diadems aka The Torches aka The Rhythm Rascals
The Diadems (Pittsburgh, Pa)
aka The Torches aka The Rhythm Rascals
Cleveland "Butch" Martin
Earl Thompson (First Tenor)
Robert Thompson (Second Tenor)
Jerry Hill (Baritone)
Jimmy Mitchell (Bass)
1961 - What More Is There To Say / Ala Vevo (LaVere 187)
1963 - Why Don't You Believe Me? / Yes I Love You Baby (Star 514)
1964 - I'll Do Anything / Goodnight Irene (Goldie 715)
Jerry Hilton & The Diadems
1964 - Dancing On Moonbeams / My Little Darling (Goodie 207)
1965 - Darn your love / No I won't (Ring-O 302)
The Rhythm Rascals
1965 - Why Do You Have To Go / Girl By My Side (Sonic 117)
The Diadems got together as a gang of ten Homewood pre-teens in 1953, organized by Cleveland "Butch" Martin (who was blind, though it never hindered his ability to sing or write a song) and Earl Thompson. They called themselves the El Moroccos.
In 1956, the core of the act formed up. Martin was the lead, and was backed by Earl Thompson (first tenor), Jerry Hill (baritone), Alvin Allsberry, Gerald Johnson and Arlene Gore. Allsberry and Johnson left in 1958, and Gore in 1959.
They were replaced in the lineup by bass Jimmy Mitchell and Earl's brother Robert, a second tenor that was singing with the LaRells. The revamped group renamed themselves the Countdowns.
They didn't find any angel to back them in Pittsburgh as far as a recording deal went, so they motored to the Big Apple in 1960 and met up with Teacho Wiltshire, of the Tin Pan Alley label. They did a demo of a Top Notes song called "Shake It Up Baby," and Wiltshire wanted them to stay in NYC to record it.
But the boys were grown up now, and headed back to Pittsburgh, where their girls were. Can't beat that home cookin'! They became the Diadems, and recorded "What More Is There To Say" b/w "Ala Vevo" in 1961 on LaVerve #187. Wiltshire didn't forget about them. He called and asked them to come back to New York to cover "Shake It Up Baby," but they were under contract to LaVerve and passed. The Isley Brothers didn't; they recorded the tune as "Twist And Shout." They were that close.
The following year, they signed on with Joe Averbach's Fee Bee label, and released some wax for his affiliates. "Why Don't You Believe Me?" b/w "Yes I Love You Baby," (Star #514), written by the group, was released in 1963, and "Dancing On Moonbeams" b/w "My Little Darling," was issued on Goodie #207 in 1964, with Jerry Hilton on lead.
The Torches The Rhythm Rascals
The Diadems quickly followed with the doo-wop Martin-Thompson song "I'll Do Anything" b/w "Goodnight Irene" (Goldie #715) the same year. Buddy Sharpe and the Shakers, local rockabilly legends, provided the musical track behind them. That was the last hurrah for the Diadems. Jimmy Mitchell took ill, and the group disbanded for a bit. They came back as the Torches in 1965, and became the Rhythm Rascals in 1966,
What More Is There To Say Why Don't You Believe Me
I'll Do Anything Yes I Love You Baby
Goodnight Irene Ala Vevo
Jerry Hilton & The Diadems
My Little Darling Dancing On Moonbeams
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