1001 Songs Challenge #86: Little Darlin’
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
The Diamonds – Little Darlin’ (1957)
” Little Darlin'” is a popular Top 40 song, made famous by the Diamonds. It was written by Maurice Williams with both melody and doo-wop accompaniment strongly emphasizing the clave rhythm. It was first recorded by Excello Records in January 1957 and quickly released as a rhythm-and-blues song by Williams’ R&B group, the Gladiolas.
We’re not in the US today but we’re not far away. We’re heading north across the border and into Canada, which I hear is a lovely part of the world. Back in the 1950s Canada had its own glittering group known as The Diamonds who were a vocal quartet that thrived when turning their hands (voices!) to a spot of doo-wop. They were partial to covering R&B numbers and it is one of these that features today. Originally performed by The Gladiolas, Little Darlin’ would soon be covered by The Diamonds and became the best-known version.
Little Darlin’ is less about the lyrics, of which there are few, and more about the vocal harmonies of The Diamonds. The song seems to be an apology from one person to another. He is pleading with a woman to give him a second chance and he is deeply sorry for trying to love more than one person at a time. It sounds like he has lost them both as a result of this infidelity. Serves you right, mate! There is a spoken section in the middle of the song where the man beseeches the woman to hold his hand and is certain all will be well if she does so. Something tells me this is wishful thinking.
Little Darlin’ combines four great voices in The Diamonds. They capture the doo-wop sound well and it is not hard to see why the song was popular. Lyrically it is quite limited though and does rely on those la-la-la sounds to guide us through and to keep our interest and appreciation. The song is noteworthy as one of those rare instances where a cover version is considered better than the original.
Favourite songs so far:
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose (1946)
Elmore James – Dust My Broom (1952)
Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (1956)
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (1956)