Diamonds

March 30, 2017 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

“Diamonds” was a huge instrumental hit in the UK for Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, sitting at #1 for three weeks in 1963. There is lots of interesting background here.

The tune was written by Jerry Lordan, composer of the guitar classic “Apache” and a number of other hits for the Shadows. An interesting detail about the original recording is that Jimmy Page played acoustic guitar on the track; it was one of his first gigs as a session player.

Bassist Harris and drummer Meehan were originally one half of the Shadows — along with guitarists Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch — until Meehan left in 1961 and Harris in 1962. Meehan left to become a producer and session musician at Decca records. Harris pursued a solo career. Together they had three hits in the UK, of which “Diamonds” was the first.

Born in 1939, Jet Harris’ given name was Terence. The nickname “Jet” resulted from his prowess as a sprinter in secondary school. He was alcoholic, which essentially ruined his career in the 1960’s. However, he eventually overcame it and remained active musically until his death from cancer in 2011. In 2010, Harris was presented with a special award from the Fender guitar company for his assistance in launching their bass guitar in the UK in 1960.

As a producer at Decca records, Tony Meehan was involved with Decca’s notable failure to sign the Beatles in 1962. He produced a number of demo recordings for their audition, including both covers and Lennon-McCartney originals. Decca rejected the Beatles choosing The Tremeloes instead, who auditioned the same day as The Beatles.

Meehan quit the music industry in the 1990s to become a psychologist — the result of a lifelong interest. He worked in London at a local college lecturing in psychology until his death in 2005. BBC News reported that Meehan died as a result of head injuries, following a fall down the main staircase at his London flat.

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Entry filed under: Acoustic, Baritone Guitar, bass guitar, Classic Rock, Garage Rock, Guitar, Instrumental Rock, Music, Oldies, Pro Tools, ProTools, Rock, Shadows, Sibelius, Video, Vintage Instrumentals.

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