Classic rock ’n’ roll revs the dancin’

The Diamonds, a 1950s and early 1960s rock and roll quartet will open the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series on July 11.
Photo courtesy Gary Owens

The Diamonds, a 50s and 60s Canadian rock and roll quartet, will open the 20th Annual Idyllwild Summer Concert Series (ISCS) on July 11.

The group is well-known for several songs, including “Little Darlin,” “Silhouettes” and “The Stroll.” They are definitely classical rock and roll.

The Diamonds had 16 Billboard hit records and appeared on American Bandstand 33 times. The Diamonds have been inducted into the Global Doo Wop Coalition Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Although the original performers are no longer harmonizing, the group continues with Gary Owens (baritone), Adam David Marino (tenor), Michael Lawrence (lead) and Jeff Dolan (bass). They offer a four-part harmony composed of the traditional high tenor, low bass and nonsensical background syllables. Owens joined the Diamonds in 1974. 

The Diamonds perform 75 to 100 times annually.

When asked why he continued the intense schedule, Owens replied, “Because we make a lot of people happy. At the end of each show, they give us standing ovations.” 

Now, Owens said, they have a new show, “Let’s Rock Broadway.” This show collects about 60 to 70 popular tunes from 17 Broadway musicals including “First Jersey Boys,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Mamma Mia,” and “All Shook Up.”

This will be their first performance in Idyllwild. However, ISCS producer Ken Dahleen has worked with the group several times and he was able to attract them to the mountain setting. Owens is from Southern California and has been to Idyllwild several times. The Diamonds are now based in Las Vegas.

In the late 1960s, the “British invasion” shifted the musical interest of American youth away from rock and roll. But the Diamonds were neither deterred nor forgotten. The Diamonds produced a show for supper clubs and Las Vegas — remaining very popular at these venues. There was a revival in the 1980s and 1990s and The Diamonds continue to entertain audiences of all ages. The concert should begin at 7 p.m. at the Butterfield Ampitheater on the ICC site.